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University to build wellness center

Megan Doyle | Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A new employee wellness center will add benefits for faculty, staff and their families, but its construction in the D2 parking lot will significantly reduce the number of parking spaces on campus for students, according to University officials.

University architect Doug Marsh said the University considered an array of sites for the $1.5 million facility.

“A variety of locations were considered to meet the needs of the facility, which included the need to be convenient to employees and families coming from either work or from home,” Marsh said.

Marsh’s office also considered building next to the Early Childhood Development Center on Bulla Road. Construction on the new facility will begin in December and should be completed by mid-summer.

“This site was selected because it is near the B staff and faculty parking lot, at the edge of the pedestrian campus and convenient to vehicular routes,” Marsh said.

Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) director Phil Johnson said construction will reduce the number of spaces in D2 South, one of the lots closest to Hesburgh Library.

“Occupancy studies show we have capacity in other areas of D2 (the middle and north lots) for the cars displaced in D2 South,” Johnson said. “The changes will be implemented when construction begins — likely mid-December. So when students come back from semester break, some who would have parked in D2 South will be in the D2 middle or north lot. Spaces are available on a first come, first serve basis.”

Some parking spaces will also be open in the D6 parking lot, Johnson said. NDSP will communicate with students via email as the construction moves forward.

Off-campus council president Tess Fitzpatrick said students are disappointed in the University’s decision to relocate student parking for the project.

“My biggest concern is people who are coming from off-campus houses,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s hard enough to park now without the renovations. As of now, we are going to have to use a shuttle … It’s going to be a huge hassle.”

Fitzpatrick said the University did circulate a survey about how many students would be interested in using a shuttle service from the C-lot, which is located south of Notre Dame Stadium. The shuttle would run a 4-minute route between Main Circle, Library Circle and the C-lot.

“We are looking into maybe if there should be further parking for on-campus students so off-campus students could park closer when they commute,” Fitzpatrick said.

The Off-Campus Concerns Council will continue to discuss how to help students adjust to the new construction, she added.

Denise Murphy, the Director of Compensation and Benefits for the Department of Human Resources, said the new center will provide better medical care for University employees.

“The Wellness Center provides an opportunity to enhance the benefit program for faculty, staff and their families,” Murphy said. “We are researching whether there will be opportunities to offer services for the families of graduate students.”

Murphy said the center will provide primary and urgent care needs, health coaching and care management, preventative health and wellness programs, referrals to community physicians and a full pharmacy.

“The University has researched the possibility of offering an on-site wellness center for faculty and staff for several years,” she said. “Many organizations, such as Disney, Intel and Toyota, have offered the convenience of a wellness center to assist employees and their families to gain access to medical care.”

Occupational health services, wellness programs, lab services and physical therapy will also be available.