Student Health Programs stats move to new healthplex

By Gus Bode

Over the next few weeks, SIUC’s Student Health Programs will be moving everything from gauze and X-ray machines to the new healthplex beside the Recreation Center.

Dr. Charles Clemens, medical chief of staff, won’t miss the old brick buildings.

Clemens has been in the health services buildings on Greek Row for 15 years. He said the original plan was for the services to stay at Greek Row for only five years.

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Instead the services have called Greek Row home for 35 years. But now the Student Health Programs is moving to its new building, a three-story healthplex two and a half times the size of its current facility.

The move-in process started about two weeks ago and by Thanksgiving, many of the administrative offices, sports medicine and physical therapy were in the new building.

During finals week when the medical clinic moves, students will have limited access to the health program’s services. Clemens said it should be difficult to offer students the kind of services they would during a typical week.

Cheryl Presley, director of the Student Health Programs, said students will still be able to call and get advice or schedule emergency appointments.

On Monday, University workers began loading stacks of boxes from the Wellness Center into the back of trucks and toting them to the healthplex.

“The building people are finishing up behind us,” Presley said.

She said the move is going well, although it’s taking longer than people predicted. It’s been time-consuming because the program is accepting students and trying to pack things at the same time, she said.

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“We’re still functioning,” she said. “That’s really been a challenge.”

Presley said she’s looking forward to the new location.

“I like everything,” she said. “When I stand in the lobby and do a full circle, it’s so full of light. It’s just beautiful in there.”

Presley said the Student Health Programs should be completely moved in and settled at the healthplex by Dec. 23 and will be fully operating by the beginning of spring semester.

Clemens said the healthplex should be good for the students. It will have counselors, dentists, a medical clinic, a dermatology provider, an optical department and a pharmacy all in the same building. He said there is also a large auditorium not only for use by students but staff as well.

Although he said he has no fond memories of the buildings themselves, he’s carrying many good memories with him to the new complex.

“The patients are the main thing,” he said.

Helping a student with a sore throat is nice, he said, but making a big difference in somebody’s life is even better, such as helping students re-examine how they’ve been living.

Clemens said he’s glad the staff of about 125 people will all be moving to the complex.

“Same staff, different place,” he said.

Kenneth Carr, a publicity specialist, has been with the Student Health Programs since 1974. He said he’s seen the health programs go through several changes since he first visited it as a sophomore in high school when he got poison ivy at an SIUC summer music camp.

“For the students, I’m really excited for them to have a state-of-the-art facility,” Carr said.

But, although it might be just a little, he said he’s going to miss the old buildings.

“We used to do a lot of barbecues,” he said. “I did a lot of cooking for that.”

Carr said he has good memories of the buildings and people who have left but is looking forward to a new start at the healthplex.

“It’s going to be an adventure,” he said.

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