Ground was broken Thursday for UNC Pembroke’s newest building. The 11,000 square foot facility will house Student Health Services and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
Construction will begin this month on the approximately $4 million project, and it should be ready for occupancy for the start of fall 2016 semester. The two-story, brick and glass structure will be located off University Road, just north of the Grace P. Johnson Football Stadium and across the street from University Courtyard Apartments.
“This is a major step forward in providing health services to our students, and this ceremony represents yet another milestone as we continue the journey started 128 years ago, a vision to change lives through education,” Chancellor Robin Cummings said. “It’s a new era in student health and counseling services.”
The new health services building is located in the center of student residential life. Student Health Services will occupy the first floor and CAPS the second floor. The design will provide a more private and professional setting for students who receive counseling services.
Kerry Kane, of Small Kane Architects in Raleigh, designed the building and extolled its design features. “The color and detail will blend well with this site,” Kane said. “It will be a very transparent building with lots of light.”
Two large white oak trees on the site will be preserved and provide shade on the sunny south side of the building. The architect said the building will be “loaded with energy savings” and qualify for LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, which is UNCP’s new construction standard.
The building and the services provided there are important to students, Chancellor Cummings said. “Student Health Services provides 24-hour care Monday through Friday, and they are on-call during weekends,” he said. “Sixty-five percent of our students will receive health services each year.”
The building site was originally planned for an existing parking lot along Faculty Row, but the acquisition of a parcel of land that was surrounded by university property allowed for construction with greater accessibility for students.
Metcon Inc., a Pembroke-based general contractor, won the bid to build the health services building. Metcon president Aaron Thomas, who is a 2000 UNCP graduate, is no stranger to building landmarks on UNCP’s campus.
“Our company got its start at UNCP,” Thomas said. “My grandmother, a graduate from the 1940s, remembers receiving medical care on campus. This new building will allow the university to provide even better service to its students.”
State Representative Charles Graham, a 1974 UNCP graduate, said the construction represents economic development for the region. “This is a wall of opportunity,” he said. “This university and this building project represent economic prosperity for our region. I am proud to say I am a part of this community.”
On the bottom line said Dr. Lisa Schaeffer, interim vice chancellor of Student Affairs, “through new technology, advanced medical equipment and increased space, this opportunity will impact the health and wellbeing of every student on this campus for years to come,” she said. “This project sends a clear message about the importance we place on the health and wellness of our students.”