New clinic will triple space for student care

By Erica Mitchell

The student health clinic is making the move to a bigger and brighter building with more windows, colorful rooms and more than three times the space as the old facility.

UK will open the new four-story University Health Service building on May 19 after almost two years of construction, said UHS Associate Director Karen Clancy.

“This is an important milestone in the history of the university, because what it is says is that the university is very supportive of the students,” Clancy said.

The new building, which is adjacent to the Kentucky Clinic and the Wethington Health Building, is the first building at UK to be dedicated entirely to student health.

UK allotted $25 million to build the new facility to accommodate a growth in the number of students over the next few years. With the approximately 73,000 visits from students and employees to the clinic each year, the new building should be more than amenable, Clancy said.

The extra space in the 73,000 square-foot building will allow for more privacy so students will not have to worry about a lack of confidentiality, Clancy said.

At the current facility, students explain their ailments to a nurse in one of the open cubicles in the waiting room as the nurse takes their blood pressure, temperature and weight. In the new facility, students will discuss their health care issues in a private exam room, Clancy said.

“There is a whole lot more space, and a lot more area for confidential health care,” said Miranda Lyons, vice president for UK’s student health advisory committee. “The organization of the building is just so much better than the old space.”

Inside the current facility at the Kentucky Clinic, only a few windows let in light from outside. At the new building, many energy-efficient windows made of fritted glass help fill the facility with natural lights. The windows are designed to reduce heating and energy costs, and they also reflect the sun during the afternoons, said UHS Director Dr. Gregory Moore.

Rooms that face South Limestone Street have patches of blue, green, red and yellow on the walls, which can be seen from the street through the windows.

“When you are outside, you can look at this building and see these bright colors, and at night it is beautiful,” Clancy said. “It is to kind of say: this is playful, this is a student area.”

On the third floor, a wall stands as a divider in the lobby, which Moore said he hopes will one day be adorned with student artwork.

Moore also said he hopes there will be more student involvement in the new building.

All full-time UK students pay a mandatory fee as part of tuition that entitles them to most services at student health at no cost. The clinic also serves part-time and graduate students, and students’ spouses.

Health services include a primary care clinic, nursing and gynecology clinics, health education services and a mental health clinic.

“There are students who have been on campus for two years and don’t know we exist,” he said. “The students are behind this building, and we certainly want them to know about it and to know all the services that are available to them.”