SU Wellness Centre set to open fall '08

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Students concerned about a sweet tooth, syphilis, a lack of faith or post-traumatic stress, will soon be able to get help at the new Students' Union Wellness Centre, opening in fall 2008. The new centre will combine University Health Services, the Counseling Centre, the Multi-Faith Chaplain's Centre as well as other services into one location.

The Wellness Centre will have increased medical capacity, with more part-time doctors, and expand its massage and chiropractic capacity. Dental services will also be offered with a new office for a dentist.

SU president Julie Bogle explained that integrating all these health and wellness services into a single centre will be positive for students because they can get attention for all their concerns at one place.

"You could go to the SU Wellness Centre for a chlamydia prescription or perhaps deal with a simple tooth ache," said Bogle.

Bogle explained the new centre will assist in achieving the SU's goal of creating a positive, productive and healthy lifestyle for students both inside and outside the classroom.

Bogle explained the funding for construction relies on the Quality Money Initiative.

"The SU Wellness Centre was allocated $350,000 from the 2006-07 Quality Money and $350,000 from the 2007-08 Initiative," she said. "This $700,000 was then matched by the university as part of the terms of agreement."

Wellness Centre director Debbie Bruckner is pleased about the changes coming to the SU Wellness Centre, such as a doubling of capacity for health services.

"We are increasing the number of part-time doctors to deal with more workload, considering how around 200 students are using the health service," said Bruckner.

She pointed out the new Wellness Centre is moving toward a student-centred perspective with teaching and learning opportunities because of its new partnership with the SU.

"There would be lot of pre-medical students, practical nurses and intern doctors practicing their skills at the centre and social work students learning about counseling [there]," said Bruckner.

Bruckner compared the centre to those at other universities that do not emphasize student involvement, explaining that the U of C's centre will be the first of its kind, both with its combined services and SU partnership.

"We are getting donations for the construction from the SU," said Bruckner. "There will be student input and the SU will be on the advisory group."

Bruckner was quick to note that the Wellness Centre will remain open throughout the expansion.

"Just now, we are fielding bids for tendering and construction should start on May 1, with its completion by the end of August," she said.