Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center celebrates grand opening

Tammy Tran

Members of the Lawrence community gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center Jan. 12.
The grand opening began with a group photograph and remarks from President Jill Beck, followed by self-guided tours of the newly renovated building. A variety of prizes were offered in a raffle and the first 500 attendees received “WelLU” drawstring gym bags.
Additionally, the Community Blood Center’s bloodmobile was stationed outside to collect blood donations throughout the day.
New features of the Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center include staff offices, exam rooms, a lab room and a triage room available for health and counseling services. Cardio equipment has been moved to level three, and the weight room is now on level two. Cable televisions were installed in the cardio room and weight room. The checkin and information desk has been moved to the main level to create a more welcoming atmosphere.
Director of Conferences and Summer Programs at Lawrence and Wellness Center project manager Lynn Hagee said that a main goal in renovating Buchanan Kiewit was to create “something that was vibrant and expressed some of the things going on the campus.”
Sports Information Director Joe Vanden Acker’s photographs of Lawrence students are displayed throughout the Wellness Center. Said Hagee, “As the classes change, we will change the photographs, too.”
This way, the building consistently reflects the current students of the Lawrence community.
An upcoming feature of the wellness center will be a studentdesigned sculpture. Currently, “there is a deck that just had birch bark and half dead plants,” stated Hagee. In collaboration with Assistant Professor of Art Rob Neilson, Hagee plans to install a student-designed sculpture on this deck of the Wellness Center.
Students and recent alumni will be able to submit sketches for committee deliberation.
“It’s another way of tying in students to this project,” said Hagee.
Bringing together student health services, counseling services and campus fitness/recreation facilities, the Wellness Center will cultivate a culture of health and wellness across campus.
“Whether you’re a student, member of faculty or staff, it is a great benefit to all of us to have this wonderful facility. It’s centrally located, modern, and what a great way for us to be proactive in our own lives in leading a lifestyle that is healthy,” said Patty Leiker, co-chair of Lawrence’s Wellness Steering Committee.
“Buchanan-Kiewit is a big building in a prime location,” stated Beck, “but is has been underused for years. Hopefully, moving health and counseling services into the building – and adding to what has been available in exercise equipment and wellness programming – will make this facility more welcoming and supportive of the Lawrence community.”
Prior to the institution of a one-stop center for wellness, student health services and counseling services were located in the Landis-Peabody wing of Colman Hall.
“Students had to walk way over to an isolated area on campus,” said Leiker. “Now, the Wellness Center is centrally located and much more accessible to students.”
“It made sense for us to combine what we had sitting on the west side of campus with what was already going on in the health center,” said Hagee. “Simultaneously,
we needed rooms for students who were coming back after fall term, so we had to find more bedrooms.”
The expansion of Colman Hall has created residence space for 21 students, a bathroom accessible to people with disabilities and a floor lounge.
However, the institution of a Wellness Center at Lawrence means more than just new facilities and more sensible logistics. According to Leiker, the Wellness Center “brings wellness to a new level of awareness on campus.”
Now, Leiker claims, “The Wellness Steering Committee and WelLU can reach out to students and everyone on campus to learn what they want to learn more about.” Students are encouraged to share suggestions about what resources, classes and information they would like to see available at the Wellness Center.
To offer suggestions, comments or ask a question about wellness at Lawrence or the Wellness Center, please visit the WelLU website and click the suggestion box to provide input.