When Old Dominion University began planning its new Student Health and Wellness facility, it became evident that the program’s current location on campus was problematic, and that a new site would be necessary if it were going to support the institution’s key design priorities of making wellness programming immediately visible and easily accessible to its diverse student body. With ODU’s dedication to the promotion of social mobility, and with its focus on eliminating inequity on campus, VMDO studied ways to connect wellness programming to the broader campus experience and considered a range of options for where to situate student health and counseling spaces. Locations needed to promote both active and passive student engagement with wellness offerings. Ultimately, a site immediately adjacent to the existing Student Recreation Center (SRC) was selected to leverage the popularity of an existing campus crossroads, and to co-locate related fitness and wellness programming in a way that was beneficial to students and staff alike.

When Old Dominion University began planning its new Student Health and Wellness facility, it became evident that the program’s current location on campus was problematic, and that a new site would be necessary if it were going to support the institution’s key design priorities of making wellness programming immediately visible and easily accessible to its diverse student body. With ODU’s dedication to the promotion of social mobility, and with its focus on eliminating inequity on campus, VMDO studied ways to connect wellness programming to the broader campus experience and considered a range of options for where to situate student health and counseling spaces. Locations needed to promote both active and passive student engagement with wellness offerings. Ultimately, a site immediately adjacent to the existing Student Recreation Center (SRC) was selected to leverage the popularity of an existing campus crossroads, and to co-locate related fitness and wellness programming in a way that was beneficial to students and staff alike.

Key to the organization of the various components of the building was the principle that wellness education is best facilitated by connections across all facets of a student’s lifestyle. From preventative health measures such as routine medical check-ups, healthy eating habits, exercise, and proper sleep routines, to the embrace of mental wellness and sexual health as areas of attention, a holistic vision to healthcare informed the overall design approach. The layout of the new facility makes a conscious effort to organize spaces and programs to be welcoming, but also provide requisite levels of privacy and confidentiality. Health Promotions – ODU’s public-facing component of the wellness program that provides outreach to engage students with lessons on healthy living – is strategically located within the existing SRC building, and anchors wellness programming within the existing context of the Rec Center. Its new location at the front door of the SRC reinforces the central role wellness plays in a happy and healthy life.

Key to the organization of the various components of the building was the principle that wellness education is best facilitated by connections across all facets of a student’s lifestyle. From preventative health measures such as routine medical check-ups, healthy eating habits, exercise, and proper sleep routines, to the embrace of mental wellness and sexual health as areas of attention, a holistic vision to healthcare informed the overall design approach. The layout of the new facility makes a conscious effort to organize spaces and programs to be welcoming, but also provide requisite levels of privacy and confidentiality. Health Promotions – ODU’s public-facing component of the wellness program that provides outreach to engage students with lessons on healthy living – is strategically located within the existing SRC building, and anchors wellness programming within the existing context of the Rec Center. Its new location at the front door of the SRC reinforces the central role wellness plays in a happy and healthy life.

The new Student Health Center is located on the main floor of the adjacent addition and provides ample space for the growing number of daily routine and emergency medical visits that occur at ODU. For the first time, ODU’s facility offers ground floor accessibility, coupled with ample parking and visitor pick-up and drop-off areas. Counseling Services is located immediately above on the addition’s upper floor, which provides isolation from the buzz of the building while still in close proximity to other departments. A two-story atrium brings natural light into adjoining spaces, and connects Counseling to Student Health and the new addition to the existing Rec Center. The atrium is home to the University’s first biophilic installation, a 30-foot tall, living wall of plants that brings students and staff into close contact with the natural world and helping to improve indoor air quality. Adjacent the main entry, a collection of indoor and outdoor meeting and seminar spaces provide flexible environments for a broad range of social and academic programming.

The new Student Health Center is located on the main floor of the adjacent addition and provides ample space for the growing number of daily routine and emergency medical visits that occur at ODU. For the first time, ODU’s facility offers ground floor accessibility, coupled with ample parking and visitor pick-up and drop-off areas. Counseling Services is located immediately above on the addition’s upper floor, which provides isolation from the buzz of the building while still in close proximity to other departments. A two-story atrium brings natural light into adjoining spaces, and connects Counseling to Student Health and the new addition to the existing Rec Center. The atrium is home to the University’s first biophilic installation, a 30-foot tall, living wall of plants that brings students and staff into close contact with the natural world and helping to improve indoor air quality. Adjacent the main entry, a collection of indoor and outdoor meeting and seminar spaces provide flexible environments for a broad range of social and academic programming.

Client: Old Dominion University

Location: Norfolk, VA

Discipline: Student Health Services

Size: 17,500 SF New Construction, 1,000 SF Renovation

Filed in:

, Higher Education, Sustainable Design, Student Life