Five programs – Counseling and Psychological Services, Student Health Services, UCHOOSE, Recovery Community and Healthy Huskies – will be located, for the first time, in the same building.
Professionals in these departments will make real-time referrals – warm handoffs – which are a hallmark of integrated care.
“A renovated Eastman Hall symbolizes the importance of our mental health and well-being,” said John Eggers, director of Counseling and Psychological Services. Having counselors in a beautiful new facility on the river will help reduce stigma that prevents some struggling students from seeking help, said Eggers, a licensed psychologist with a doctorate from Texas A&M University.
With a continued increase in students seeking health and wellness services, the Eastman Hall renovation will help St. Cloud State provide the assistance that students need to succeed. Since 2005, Counseling and Psychological Services at St. Cloud State has seen a 71 percent increase in the number of counseling sessions. They also are seeing 45 percent more clients.
St. Cloud State is not unique in the growing demand. Nationally, 94 percent of counseling center directors responding to an American College Counseling Association survey reported increases in students seeking services.
Built in 1929, Eastman Hall will be re-purposed for student services and health sciences academic programs. Construction is expected to be complete by spring 2019. The Legislature backed the project with $865,000 in design funds in 2014 and $18.6 million in construction funds in 2017.
The project will renovate 43,291 gross square feet and build 15,562 gross square feet. Plans call for an outdoor plaza facing the Mississippi River.
“It will have a store-front feel with glass all around,” said Jen Sell Matzke, assistant dean of students.
UCHOOSE will have prominent service and office spaces reflective of its growing national reputation. Data collected from 2005-2015 shows a 53 percent drop in the number of St. Cloud State students engaged in high-risk drinking, said Sell Matzke. UCHOOSE also manages the IMPACT Diversion Program, which delivers alcohol-education to students and non-students charged in St. Cloud and other communities with underage alcohol violations.
A new 24-hour multi-use space – the Recovery Resource Center – will expand St. Cloud State’s commitment to supporting a population that has struggled with degree-completion.
Student Health Services’ clinic, lab and pharmacy will move from Hill Hall and will benefit from purpose-built medical spaces.
“The privacy features, the accessibility features, will all be brought up to current standards, if not above standards,” said Corie Beckermann, director of Student Health Services.
The higher visibility and improved facilities will translate into more students served, Beckermann said.
“Bringing us all together will make it easier to coordinate care,” she said. “A lot of students will come to Health Services with problems with sleep, or some other physical symptom. As we start talking, we realize they need to talk to a counselor. Now it will be possible for a counselor to walk down to our clinic and meet a student. It will be much easier to do that warm handoff.”