Published September 29, 2021
A new building on Maple Road in Amherst will become UB’s home for health services, at least for the time being, while the university moves forward with plans to build a larger, more comprehensive wellness center on the North Campus.
UB has agreed to lease a single-story building at 4350 Maple Road, near the corner of Sweet Home Road, a half mile from the North Campus, to serve as its Student Health Services center.
“Students have wanted something like this for a number of years and the pandemic really drove home the need,” says Brian F. Hamluk, vice president for student life. “Students want a better patient experience and that’s what we’re going to give them.
“Maple Road is in close proximity to the North Campus, it will be a more modern facility and it will give us more space to provide a higher quality of health care while we work toward building a state-of-the-art wellness and recreation center on campus,” Hamluk says.
UB will provide students with transportation to the Maple Road location from both the North and South campuses. The site also has ample parking.
The university is currently working with the building owner, Benderson Development Co., to redesign the 13,000 square feet of space to suit its needs. A mid-spring opening is the target.
UB anticipates leasing the Maple Road building for at least the next five years while it plans and builds its wellness center.
Until the Maple Road site opens next year, UB’s Health Services will continue to work out of its current location in Michael Hall on the South Campus, as well as an additional space in Farber Hall Annex, says Susan Snyder, director of health services. Students should continue to call to schedule appointments.
Health Services traditionally handles roughly 24,000 patient visits a year but has maxed out at that level based on the square footage of Michael Hall, Snyder says. Michael Hall was originally built as a campus residence hall.
“The space on Maple Road is larger and more sufficient for patient flow,” Snyder says. “It will allow us to separate the sick visits from well visits, a protective measure now that we are dealing with COVID, and that will also serve the community well in the years ahead.”
An in-house pharmacy will also move to the Maple Road site. Counseling Services, Health Promotion and chiropractic services will remain on the North and South campuses until the new wellness and recreation center comes to fruition.
These changes to Health Services come at a time when UB not only wants to modernize its health facilities, but also take a more holistic approach to student health by incorporating medical care, mental health counseling, wellness initiatives and recreation all under one roof.
UB hired CannonDesign, which last year unveiled renderings for a four-story wellness and recreation center on the North Campus. The center not only would house Health Services, Counseling Services and Health Promotion, but include a pool, basketball courts, multiple fitness centers and an elevated running track at the site where the campus bookstore now stands. The project also would include the renovation of recreational facilities in Clark Hall on the South Campus.
Those plans were stalled by the pandemic, but this fall UB will start soliciting firms for the project with the hopes of beginning design work by January.
The university is eyeing a completion date of 2026 for the proposed wellness and recreation center, as long as funding and other factors align.
“These next few years are the beginning of a dramatic change in how we meet the health and wellness needs of our students,” Hamluk says.
Physical and occupational therapy should be included in any student health facility and not employ a physician-owned PT practice in university space. Our PT and OT students would benefit from an on-campus clinic.
Douglas J. Frye