Friday May 31, 2002
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Health Center finds a new home

More services offered, larger facilities, with West Campus location

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Robert Hill

With the move to West Campus, Health Services plans to offer not only a larger facility, but also more expansive health coverage and available staff to make health care more accessible and convenient for students.

By Jason Reeves Contributing Writer

With a groundbreaking in early June, work on the new health center will begin, and with it, students can expect many expansions upon the current health coverage.

Among these include dental coverage, expanding psychiatric coverage, and third party billing. The actual building will be larger than the current health center and will have room for future expansions built into it.

The new health center will be located next to the natatorium on west campus, the current location of part of the Student Athletic Complex (SAC). It will have an entrance facing Ferst Drive and will be two stories tall.

Parking at the Health Center will be accessible from both Ferst Drive and Tech Parkway. The actual building will be approximately 10,000 square feet larger than it currently is and will house many improvements on the old health center.

One of the new features students can look forward to is dental coverage. According to Dr. Cindy Smith, the Director of Health Services, the health center will have a full time dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistant and receptionist to cover Georgia Tech students.

The dental coverage that the new health center will offer will include cleanings and filling, but it will not cover more invasive work such as having crowns done, reconstructive surgery or orthodontics.

Third party billing, another one of the changes in the health center, will allow students to make their visits to the health center less time consuming as far is billing is concerned. The health center currently has third party billing as part of its budget, even though it will not take effect until next spring.

Along with these additions, the health center will also have a psychiatrist available for students. Currently psychiatrists are only available at the counseling center. Some may stay at the counseling center but some will also work at the health center for convenience.

In addition to the new services that are being offered, the health center will continue to house the women’s center, the wellness center, the medical clinic, radiology and the pharmacy.

“None of the current services that the health center offers will be lost when it moves to the new building,” said Smith.

The women’s center will be located directly above the lab and will have three more examination rooms than it currently does. This will help students using the health center receive quicker and more convenient service.

The wellness center, which will also be located on the second floor, will be arranged slightly differently to be more accessible to students. Changes in its layout include more overall space, a larger fitness area for stretching and measurements, and a poster-sized printer area.

The new health center’s medical clinic will also expand in size. It will have 16 examination rooms instead of the 9 rooms currently available at the clinic. The doctor’s offices will be located next to two of these examination rooms, giving the doctors quicker access to their patients.

The move to the new health center will also include new beds and medical equipment. This spring alone the medical clinic saw 5,760 patients. Health Services hopes that these improvements will help the doctors treat patients in a more timely manner. The radiology department at the new health center will be the same size as it is now. Rather than transport the old equipment from the current health center, Health Services will instead use new equipment.

The new health center’s lab will be located near the rear of the building and will be slightly larger than it is currently. The lab will continue to perform throat cultures and chemical analysis such as hematocrit and blood sampling. More complicated procedures will be sent out to other labs for analysis.

There is also a large space on the second floor left for future expansions of the health center. Health Services will use this space based on student response to the health center and which areas need more space.

The survey that Auxiliary Services conducts represents one way that health services will know which areas need to have more room, according to Smith.

“Submissions from student government organizations that express interest in expanding certain areas will also be taken into account,” said Smith.

Parking for the new health center will be available, but it will not be as large as it is now. Thirteen spaces for patient parking will be available next to the health center where the parking lot for SAC is now. It is not yet certain how this lot will be enforced to keep spots open for patient use.

This 7.1 million dollar construction will take place from the second week of June until the following February. Whiting-Turner construction is contracting this project, with Lord, Aech and Sargent as architects for it. However, the date for the ground breaking has not yet been set.

After the health center moves to its new location, construction on the Klaus Advanced Computing Building, a project of the College of Computing, will begin. Students should expect the health center to open in the middle of February of 2003.