College’s $25M building mirrors wellness trend

College’s $25M building mirrors wellness trend

Philippidis, Alex

With a $25 million “wellness” building set to break ground this summer, The College of New Rochelle (CNR) is mirroring a national trend of colleges paying more attention to preventive health care, as the nursing profession has done over the past two decades.

CNR’s new Wellness Center will allow the college to expand its wellness offerings within the nearby community and thus help build a healthier society, college President Dr. Stephen J. Sweeny, said.

“Colleges and universities today have discovered that students place a low priority on health and wellness benefits. They are engaged in active fives. Older students often have to care for their families. So the college is making a major move forward around the theme of wellness and healthful living,” Sweeny said.

Sweeny said the new center won’t mean an additional increase in CNR’s nursing enrollment of 700 students, up from 516 in the fall of 2003.

CNR’s expansion of wellness programs reflects how far college nursing programs have shifted since the 1980s beyond just teaching professionals to combat disease. The programs have increasingly embraced “holistic” nursing, where students are trained to help patients make better lifestyle choices.

“In college settings, the wellness center used to be a student health center serving just the college, but they have since come to mean keeping people healthy throughout the community,” said Barbara R. Grumet, executive director of the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission in New York City.

“These centers teach people bow to prevent disease, how to diet, how to exercise, how to manage stress and tackle unfortunate substanceabuse issues,” said Grumet, whose group accredits 1,300 nursing programs nationwide.

In embracing holistic nursing, the profession is returning to the drinking of pioneer Florence Nightingale. As medical science advanced during the 20th century the profession shifted to diseasecentered treatment, only to re-embrace Nightingale’s approach during the 1980s.

Donna Demarest, dean of CNR’s nursing school, said the wellness facility will provide much-needed additional space for treating adults and children who live nearby Faculty and students will develop curricula or “modides” to address specific issues, including weight control, stress reduction and diabetes.

Funds for the wellness center will come from corporate, foundation and government sources. CNR could receive $4.2 million in state academic construction funds included in this year’s state budget if it can raise three times that amount on its own.

Construction on the 60,000-square-foot wellness center is set to begin this summer and be completed in January 2007. The center will rise on the southwest corner of the CNR campus at Liberty Avenue and Meadow Lane.

Sweeny said the center will also be the new home for several CNR athletic programs forced to play and practice off campus since 1996, when the college razed its 1920s-era sports building.

The wellness center will be the first new budding to be constructed at CNR in 40 years. Funding for the center comes from a decade-long, $70 million campaign intended to refurbish several existing buildings as well. CNR completed a $14 million renovation of its Mother Irene Gill library in 2003 and restored its Holy Family Chapel last year.

Copyright Westfair Communications Jun 20, 2005

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