A few days before students flock back to campus the Falcon Health Center opened its doors Wednesday to dignitaries and curious community members.
|An exterior view of the new Falcon Health Center. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
And they had plenty of room to roam.
The two-story center, across East Wooster Street from the Bowling Green State University campus has 23,000 square feet of space, more than the center actually can use at this point.
What it does have are 22 private rooms for exams, procedures, therapy and education.
Alan Watson and Sam Waltz, both seniors, were impressed with what they saw Wednesday evening. They found it bright, roomy and welcoming.
Watson said in the past he might have been reluctant to go to the health center because he wasn't sure how long he would have to wait. Touring the new facility eased those concerns.
Waltz said she felt in developing the health center the Wood County Hospital, which operates it, and university officials listened to student concerns.
And this, Watson said, will help alleviate any concerns students had about the new facility, and ill will over razing the former home of the Pop Culture Department, which originally sat on the site.
Students, he said, will be pleased to see that the center "is something worthwhile to the students and the community."
The hospital built the $5 million facility and will operate it.
The collaboration with the university only makes sense, said Hospital CEO and President Stan Korducki.
The hospital was already treating many students, and the opportunities for miscommunication between the health center and hospital were ever present.
BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey initiated the new arrangement. Auburn University, where she served previously, had a health center run by an independent hospital, so she knew it could work. That served as the model for the Falcon Health Center.
Mazey said the first day she was on campus, she visited the building that housed both the health center and Health and Human Services programs and realized space was a problem, especially considering the university's initiative to further develop its health and wellness offerings.
|Nicholas Espinoza (middle), Director of Medical Services at the Falcon Health Center in Bowling Green, Ohio, looks on from the lobby of facility August 21, 2013 as guests mingle in the background before a ribbon cutting ceremony for the facility. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
Having the hospital take over the services saved the university the money it would have had to spend constructing a new health center, as well as saving $1.5 million a year in operational costs.
Mazey also sees the possibility for internships and research being done in conjunction with the health center.
And, the students would be better served. The facility offers family care, women's health, sports medicine and psychiatric care.
The university with a population only in residence for eight months could never provide all those services.
Dr. Nick Espinoza, the center director, said when he first heard about the proposal, he wanted to be involved, even if it was just working a day a week.
He was excited to be bringing the worlds of academia and medicine together.
Part of what the center can do, he said, is help students become informed consumers of health services.
Michelle Crook, who works for Wood Health Corporation, said she attended the open house with her daughter Emily, a high school sophomore, to acquaint herself with the new facility so she could better answer inquiries she gets on the job.
She was impressed. And as a mother of another daughter who is heading to college next year and is considering BGSU, she said the availability of such care could be a factor in making a decision about what college to attend.
For her part her younger daughter said the center "seems really safe to go to."
Stefani Hathaway, who works in the university's counseling center, also came over to acquaint herself with the center. The health center staff has always had a good relationship with the counseling center. So she wanted to come over "and help them celebrate their new space."
She was struck by "how much more space they have."
The center will provide only limited emergency services. Dr. Kevin Martin, emergency medicine specialist, said it will amount to triage. Taking the first necessary steps, assessing the patients and then transferring the patient to Wood County Hospital for care. "We're ready, but we know our limitations," Martin said.
Korducki said the quality of service will constantly be monitored, as with any hospital unit.
To really determine how much the new center has benefited the students and community, he said, will take at least three years. "You can't do that in six months."