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University of Dubuque unveils plans for new health center

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) – College students across the country are struggling to find access to adequate healthcare. Now, the University of Dubuque is hoping to change that for their students.

Plans and sketches for a $1.1 million health care center were revealed on Tuesday. It would be the first center on the University of Dubuque’s campus.

The move comes after numerous students said that they had difficulty reaching other healthcare centers. Finances, long wait times, and lack of transportation were all common themes.

As a result, school officials said that students were forced to put their health on hold. This could cause minor ailments to progress to more serious illness and injuries.

Jeffery Bullock, President of the University of Dubuque, said that he knew the university had to act now.

“And we also hope that students, who do not come from families that have ready access to healthcare will be able to get a handle on their health,”  said Bullock.

Mental health issues were an additional reason for the health center. Bullock said that he believes at least half of the students on the University of Dubuque’s campus have some sort of mental health problem. Of that number, he believes that 25% of those students have never been diagnosed.

However, none of the work towards creating a health center would have been possible without the help from Barbra Smeltzer. Smeltzer is an alumni and advisor at the university. But to most students, she’s their Campus Mom.

Barbra and her husband, Jack Smeltzer, donated $500,000 towards the funding for the project. It is just one of the many ways the couple has given back to the university.

“So I thought, ‘We really need this on campus,'” said Barbra Smeltzer. “I felt like I came out of here with a good education and a good job possibility. So I thought that this was a good way to give back.”

The healthcare center is designed to be warm and welcoming. They want to make students feel like they’re back home.

“But for all the everyday smaller things, it can be taken care of right here,” said Barbra Smeltzer. “And they can just walk in and say ‘This is what’s happening. It was suggested that I come over here.” And then someone can take care of them.”

The healthcare center is expected to be completed by Fall 2020.

Author Profile Photo

Ashley Scott

Reporter, Dubuque

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