Campus Safety, Student Health Services, and the Counseling Center have all moved locations into the newly remodeled first floor of Dascomb Hall. Administrators, Campus Safety officers, and Student Health providers believe that the move helps better address students’ needs by making the services more central to campus as well as by giving the departments more room and resources.
The first floor of Dascomb previously housed a dining hall but was temporarily vacant when the dining hall was closed over the summer of 2017. Construction began this past Winter Term and cost $2.8 million to complete.
According to Director of Campus Safety Mike Martinsen, the move was motivated in part by the desire to increase accessibility and ease for students trying to utilize these resources.
“It’s far more convenient for our students because it places us in the same location as our counseling and wellness and also our health services,” Martinsen said. “So it’s kind of a one-stop-shop for someone who has a need for the services we provide. We work very closely and we collaborate often with counseling and wellness services — if they need assistance with transports, or someone from medical has a need for a transport from a leg injury or something, or they feel too ill to go pick up their prescriptions. Now we’re right there, so it just makes things a lot more convenient for everybody.”
While Campus Safety’s new location is not dramatically different from its old one, the relocation of Student Health Services and the Counseling Center is significantly closer to most of campus’ main buildings. Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo hopes this will make student life easier.
“This project represents the really positive outcomes that result from collaboration between administration and student leadership,” wrote Raimondo in an email to the Review. “Student Senate spent several years documenting the challenges related to Student Health and the Counseling Center’s distance from central campus. Sharing that data enabled the opportunity to utilize the space that housed Dascomb Dining Hall in a high-impact way that directly responds to student concerns. I hope many more such collaborations will occur.”
In addition to the better location, the move to Dascomb Hall boasts more space and resources for all three departments.
“It gives us more space, which provides more privacy for our students,” Martinsen said. “If you were in our last headquarters, you could be in an office having a conversation, and there [were] probably three or four people that could probably almost hear what was being said because you’re so tight.”
The move leaves a few questions behind with it. Some are wondering what the empty buildings that previously housed Campus Safety buildings and Student Health will be used for. According to Raimondo, the use of these spaces will be determined once the Academic and Adminstrative Program Review recommendations begin taking shape.
“Use of the Professional Services Building is one of many questions that the space utilization work called for by the One Oberlin plan will address,” Raimondo wrote.
Another concern for some is whether the location change has been properly communicated to returning students, who might believe these services are still housed in their old locations.
“Wait, the Health Center isn’t across from Mercy [Allen Hospital]?” College second-year Noah Plotkin said when they were asked how they felt about the move. “I didn’t know that until now. I kind of knew that they moved Campus Safety. I think someone mentioned that to me once. Why would they move the Health Center … when it makes sense for it to be across from Mercy [Allen Hospital]?”
According to Martinsen, this shouldn’t be too big of a concern.
“We have signage up at the old place just in case, but we haven’t had any issues at all,” Martinsen said. “And no one’s come in and said, ‘We couldn’t find you!’”