New Construction

USF Breaks Ground on Student Wellness Center

At the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla., this week, university administrators and students broke ground on the construction of a new student wellness center. The new center will measure in at three stories and 47,000 square feet, four times as large as the existing Student Health Services building. The estimated cost of construction is $27.4 million drawn from student fees designated for capital improvements.

“The University of South Florida has long recognized that health and wellness are integral to the success of our students,” said USF President Steve Currall. “The global pandemic of this past year has only heightened that awareness. This Student Government-supported project will greatly benefit our students by providing enhanced health and wellness services on our campus and significantly increasing USF’s capacity to provide such services.”

The Agency for Healthcare Administration suggests a guideline of one square foot per student in a healthcare facility. The current Student Health Services building, which has been in use since 1980, measures 12,500 square feet for a student population of more than 50,000.

The facility will provide services for general medical care; urgent care; and specialty services like sexual health, gynecology, dermatology, physical therapy, immunizations, behavioral health, psychology, nutrition, and travel medicine. It will also offer blood-drawing services, point-of-collection laboratory services, and a pharmacy.

“Our student population has outgrown the existing Student Health Services building, limiting our ability to adequately serve our students,” said USF Student Health Services executive director and medical director Dr. Joseph Puccio. “By moving forward with a significantly larger, modern, one-stop healthcare facility, our professional staff will be better equipped to serve our student population, ultimately helping them to remain focused on their academics.”

The new facility will incorporate design features based on takeaways from the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, an exterior overhang will make room for potential outdoor clinical services. HVAC systems will include upgraded filters, and an urgent care suite will be designed to prevent the recirculation of used or potentially contaminated air.

“[After] an emotionally and mentally taxing year, we have learned we must prioritize our well-being when no one else will,” said Alexis Roberson, Tampa governor for the university’s student government.

The project’s designer is CannonDesign, and the construction team comes from Barr&Barr and Horus. Construction is scheduled for completion in fall 2022.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].