New facility benefits more than the university’s appearance
The bricks have been placed, the mortar has been set, and the newest edition to the campus landscape is almost complete. The Speech, Hearing, and Rehabilitation Services and Dental Hygiene departments rejoice as they will finally have their own building to call home. It will include clinics for each department on the first floor and house many of the classes on the second floor. With the convenient placing on Warren Street it will be easily accessible to the community.
The construction team has been working hard through the elements on this project. Due to a higher number of rain days than historically average the team of over 60 trade workers had to push through and get the job done. Costing a little under 29 million dollars to complete, this was quite a lofty goal for the university.
Bonnie Berg, the department chair of speech and hearing, says that she has been “waiting for this for 20 years.” One of the challenges that this building will help the department with are the accessibility for patients. The new building will have handicap parking front and center, along with better access for patients in wheel chairs.
The Dental Hygiene Department will also reside in the new building. The department chair of dental hygiene, Lisa Fleck, says that her students are “pumped to be in there.” The dental hygiene department will also see natural light in the new clinic. “One of the biggest excitement pieces is getting out of the basement,” says Fleck. This is in reference to the department’s current location in the basement of Morris hall.
The department will double in size of workspace for students. Their current 12-chair open room clinic will pale in comparison to the 24-chair space with cabinetry giving the patients and the workers more privacy.
There is an excitement that can be felt in prospective students. Alex Pitheon, junior student applying for the dental hygiene program, says that she is, “excited to get a chance to experience what a real office would feel like.”
The new clinic will be much more accommodating to the public as well. With parking out front and new access for those that are disabled it will be, “much more available to the community,” says Fleck.
Pitheon commented on the opportunity that the new building creates to give a better idea of the real deal. “Not a transmission, you will know what you are in for,” Pitheon says in regards to the real world setting the clinic will emulate.
Both programs look forward to the new building offering students opportunities never available before. The new reception area offers both programs a place for patients to wait. The independent clinics offer more privacy and better service to the community. The new parking areas make it easier for the patients to get to clinics.
Berg and Fleck both said that students that are graduating this year have already made it a point to come back and see all the new facilities. Students that have been admitted into their respective majors this winter will get the best of both worlds. Fleck says that students that have had to work in the old building and then get to transfer into the new building will gain a huge appreciation for the equipment.
When the doors open there will be electricity. Community members and students together will enjoy the new building. It is a great accomplishment for the university and the residing students will be joyous to call the residence home.
Photo: (Courtesy of the MSU Mankato Facilities Management)