Wellness Learning Center
Husson University, Bangor, Maine
Husson's Health Center and Counseling Center had long occupied a variety of obscure spaces in separate locations on the Bangor campus. Due to student demand for both of these services, the University undertook a study to expand and coalesce the two services in a single location. This combined facility for healthcare and counseling services needed to be sited not only in a central location on campus, but to also provide discreet access and privacy for patients.
A design program was further developed to define the number of exam/counseling rooms, lab space, welcoming waiting room, private check-in area, administrative space, director’s office and separate restrooms for staff and patients. To advance the concept of coalescing the two services, the University proceeded with leasing modular offices configured for this end use, locating them in a discreet location central to the campus.
This new space, the Wellness Center, has proven popular with both students and staff. But it was obvious Husson needed to develop a permanent structure. As plans began to formulate for the Wellness Center, Husson recognized synergies in combining the center with an opportunity to create an experiential learning space supporting growth trends in the Nursing, OT and PT programs. Husson’s Board of Trustees opted to move ahead with the Wellness Learning Center combining health and counseling services with an inter-professional learning space and simulation lab.
A request for qualifications was sent to a select group of highly qualified design firms and SMRT of Portland, ME was commissioned for the project based on their extensive healthcare facilities experience. SMRT worked with Sewall, the site engineering firm, identifying three sites as potential locations. Due to poor soil conditions, several more sites were evaluated before selecting a location in the heart of the campus. This prominent location replaced parking areas between the Gracie Theater and O’Donnell Commons and provided convenient access for staff and students.
The new 6,700 sf wood framed structure with a single sloped roof over the simulation lab and lobby was designed to complement the rooflines and materials of the adjacent Gracie Theater. The grounds around the building feature extensive landscaping, incorporating a Founder’s Walk that will define the entrance to the campus from the Griffin Road.
Inside, a lobby separates the two uses and is accessible from both sides of the building. A sky-like graphic mural along the top of the curved lobby walls stretches up to a vaulted wood ceiling with clerestory windows, allowing for natural light in this common space. The learning space has four simulation labs with control rooms, a classroom space for debriefing after simulations and a multi-purpose meeting area. The Wellness Center has a spacious and naturally lighted waiting room with a private check-in space. The clinical side of the space features four counseling offices, three exam rooms, a dedicated lab space and administrative spaces all designed with patient privacy as the top priority.
CC of Maine was retained by Husson University to provide pre-construction services that included feasibility studies, budgeting, developing/issuing RFP’s for design services and construction management services. During the construction phase, CC of Maine provided contract administration/project management services.
Groundbreaking for the Wellness Learning Center took place November 2018 and construction was completed in August 2019, on schedule and under budget.
Night photo by Larry Ayotte, exterior day photos by Matt Green-Hamann