Dixie State University’s new Health and Wellness Center is scheduled to open after spring break.
Construction is underway, and the center will now be located near the University Plaza Building. Peter Gitau, vice president of student affairs, said the move will be beneficial for students and faculty.
“We needed something closer to campus, which is more accessible to students,” Gitau said.
DSU is also in the final stages of hiring a director to oversee the new center. Gitau said this is the first time DSU is hiring a full-time director position. The center’s main focus is ensuring students have the necessary resources to maintain good medical and mental health.
Although it is not a long-term treatment center, nurse practitioners can prescribe medication, provide urgent care and exams, and refer students to other clinics if they need additional care. Gitau said DSU really needs to focus on education and outreach when it comes to the Health and Wellness Program.
“If we are working with our students proactively, then we can talk about health and sexual behavior [which] may mean we don’t treat as many of those incidents,” Gitau said.
Aside from medical treatment, the center offers therapy sessions for students. Dean of Students Del Beatty said therapists understand that every case is different, so they try to match the student with the most experienced therapist for that particular issue.
When students visit the new center, Sherry Ruesch, executive director of facilities management, said the building will resemble an actual doctor’s office.
“The old location was kind of like a 1960’s house,” Ruesch said. “[The new center] will look like a regular clinic.”
Beatty said the physical space is going to dramatically increase. There will be three therapy rooms, three medical exam rooms, and an assortment of offices with newer equipment.
“When [students] are done with their session, we want to make sure that [they] can leave privately,” Gitau said.
As of right now, it costs $20 every time a student uses the center’s services. However, Beatty said he is working with DSU Student Association to get the service fee lowered for next semester.
“I went to student government and said ‘would you be willing to dedicate a portion of the mandatory student fees toward the center?’” Beatty said. “They realized right away that it would be a wise decision.”
For this semester, $11 was taken from student fees to fund the center. In comparison to other universities in Utah, the average is $35 a semester.
“We are not even a third of what other schools pay, yet we still provide a very comprehensive clinic for our students,” Beatty said.
In the future, Beatty said the goal is to eventually provide free services for all students.
“Our motivation is to keep students well so they can be successful at school and in their lives,” Beatty said.
DSU is also taking into account students who already have health insurance.
“I don’t want to say that right now we’re at the point where we bill insurance, but we are moving toward that,” Gitau said. “Our goal is if we start billing insurance and bringing in some more revenue, we will be able to open the center earlier.”
The Health and Wellness Center is still located at 34 N 600 E until the new building is finished. The center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 435-652-7756.