Patrick Gilligan, director of counseling services, stared out the large windows that bathe his new white office in light.
Considering how the students he counsels may react to the outside distractions of his new office, Gilligan said, with a chuckle, “I might just point the chairs out, and just say, ‘OK, we’re not going to look at each other. Let’s just look outside and talk.’”
The next time students visit the Cox Health and Counseling Center, now on Scott Lane, they will be greeted with state-of-the-art medical facilities. The two-story building boasts considerable natural lighting, more examination rooms, a centralized nursing station, and separate waiting rooms for health and counseling services, with a broad back stairway up to the latter for privacy.
Kimberly Cullers, nurse practitioner and director of health services, worked with architects from the beginning to pinpoint what was needed in a new facility. She knew that the old one, in Sparrow House on Gaskin Avenue, was too tree-shaded and cramped.
“We wanted lots of light,” Cullers said. “We wanted it to be comfortable, we wanted it to be quiet. We wanted to be a place where people wanted to come.” And Cullers believes, now that it’s built, that they will come.
“I think we’re going to be busier,” Cullers said. “I feel like a lot of students would say to us before, ‘I’m so far away from you guys. I’ve been sick for so many days. And I just haven’t had a chance to make it up here,’ so being more centrally located perhaps can help students get care quicker, way more conveniently.”
Designed by the firm of Graham Gund ’63, Gund Partnership of Cambridge, Mass., the 8,500-square-foot facility sits in the heart of the village. The center resembles Lentz House, another Gund Partnership project, and feels open and airy in its use of wood tones and white walls. Impressive conference rooms are built just off the two lobbies, allowing students to hold meetings after the health and counseling centers have closed.
While already up and running, the building, named for James D. Cox ’60, will officially be dedicated in October when members of the Kenyon College Board of Trustees are on campus for their fall meeting.
“I felt like the College really generously included all of us in the planning and the design,” of the building, Gilligan said. “I felt like they did a really nice job of listening to how we live our lives here, and I think that they’ve given us a really excellent spot to operate out of.”
“I think the location, obviously, is ideal,” Cullers said. “This was really picked for us, this location, and we were thrilled to be moved here.”
The center’s office space now makes room for the student group Peer Counselors. “The health and welfare of this place is based on how actively students want to be involved in their own health and welfare,” he said.