Gannett health services will only be available in the facility’s new addition on Campus Road while the original building is renovated and renamed over the next year, the University announced Monday.
Nianne VanFleet, Gannett’s associate director of operations, said the health facility will double in size after upcoming renovations. She described this coming year as a “transition period,” when many offices and services will be moved to temporary locations in the new addition while the original building is renovated to reflect a need for more space.
“The expansion will really ‘right size’ our facility, since we had been operating in a space that was much too small and no longer met healthcare standards,” VanFleet said.
Once complete, the new building will have up-to-date and accessible medical facilities, an increased numbers of exam rooms, counseling offices, an expanded pharmacy and larger waiting area, according to VanFleet.
Sharon Dittman, Gannett’s associate director for community relations, described the expansion of Cornell’s health center as a project that has been a “University priority” since 2005.
“The original facility was severely undersized to serve Cornell’s growing student population and evolving campus needs,” she said.
Dittman explained that plans for the new facility in 2009 had to be tabled due to budgetary concerns, but discussions resurfaced four years later when a local firm was hired to design a facility that would incorporate the construction of a significant addition into the existing building.
“This transformation of Cornell’s health services is a $55 million project — less than half the cost of the original design,” Dittman said.
She explained that the expansion and renovation of the health facility is being funded both by “generous donors” and contributions from all the University’s schools, colleges and administrative units.
Kent Bullis, Gannett’s interim executive director, said one of the project’s goals is the consistent provision of more integrated medical and mental health services.
“Our collaborative care teams — made up of medical providers, counselors, psychologists, nutritionists and others — are now co-located in ‘integrated care suites’ where providers from different backgrounds and specialties work together to support our patients’ and clients’ physical and mental health,” Bullis said.
Bullis noted that another aim of the revamped Gannett will be to improve visitor experience and create a peaceful atmosphere in the facility.
“Many of our visitors come to us when they are feeling their worst, and we believe that providing a welcoming, peaceful physical space is an important part of delivering high-quality care and helping our patients and clients feel their best,” he said.
The University also announced that in Spring 2017, Gannett will officially change its name and operate in its entirety under the new name “Cornell Health.”
The facility was originally built in the 1950s and named “Gannett Clinic” in appreciation for a generous donation from the Gannett Foundation. According to Dittman, the new renovations seemed to signify an appropriate time for a new name.
Dittman explained that “Cornell Health” was the result of ideas generated from surveys and focus groups involving Cornell community members.
“[The shift] reflects the evolution of our mission, our holistic approach to providing medical, mental health and public health services, and the commitment of the university to health as a core value for the whole campus community,” she said.