New Health and Wellness Facilities Help Colleges Tackle COVID-19

New Health and Wellness Facilities Help Colleges Tackle COVID-19

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Over the past year, it is no question that health and wellness have been in the forefront of our everyday lives.  While COVID-19 has caused a clear threat to physical health, other aspects of wellness like mental health have been severely affected, too.  While nearly one in five of U.S. adults reported having a mental illness prior to the pandemic, current stressors have caused these numbers to worsen.  In a mid-July 2020 Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Tracking Poll, 53% of adults in the U.S. reported their mental health had been negatively impacted by the stress caused by COVID-19, compared to only 32% in March 2020.  More particularly, the mental health of students in higher education — which has been a longtime concern of parents, professors, and administrators alike — has been brought into renewed focus given the challenges due to COVID-19.  Through interview surveys conducted at a large public university in the United States, it was discovered that 71% of students identified increased stress and anxiety as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.  An estimated 53% of college presidents have reported that students mental health is among their most pressing COVID-19 worries.  Though these statistics may seem bleak, health and wellness centers on college campuses are working diligently to change the outlook for many students, providing health and preventative care at minimum cost and maximum convenience.  As designers of these health and wellness spaces, we are fortunate to get more than a glimpse into how healthcare providers on college campuses are stepping up their efforts to best serve students in a variety of ways.

To gain better perspective on how COVID-19 has impacted the delivery of health and wellness services on college campuses, we reached out to Dr. Frederick D. Muegge, Director of Health and Wellness Services at Missouri State University.  Our team had the opportunity to get to know Dr. Muegge well through the process of designing and constructing the Bill and Lucille Magers Family Health and Wellness Center in 2018.  The Health and Wellness Center became the new medical home for University students, faculty, and staff, offering clinical appointments, urgent care services, a treatment clinic, mental health services, a pharmacy and wellness programs.  As the Director of Health and Wellness Services, Dr. Muegge recalled reflecting several times over the last few months on how adaptable and facilitating the Hastings+Chivetta designed facility has been for Missouri State’s COVID-19 triage evaluation, testing, vaccination, and care.  Dr. Muegge proudly claims, “Every challenge we have encountered has been met by your design.”  We are proud to hear of the many ways that Missouri State has served their students, faculty, and staff in many capacities, whether through an in-person Medical Clinic visit, utilizing telemedicine services, or offering necessary access to the Pharmacy and COVID-19 testing. 

To learn more about how we are enhancing higher education health and wellness services through design, contact Erik Kocher at ekocher@hcarchitects.com or (314) 529-4004.