HUB breaks ground Monday

Photo courtesy of Xavier University

The long awaited Health United Building (HUB) will be breaking ground Monday. According to Robert Sheeran, the president of Physical Plant, the university has aimed to build a new recreation center since 2005 with initial planning in 2015.

The vision for a unique combination of a recreation center, health service clinic, and classroom space came about after the university health partner, TriHealth, joined the conversation in 2016. The multi-million dollar project is slated to be completed by the 2019 fall semester.

While combined recreation and health centers are not new to major universities such as University of Cincinnati or the Ohio State University, according to Xavier Director of Strategic Communications Kelly Leon, The HUB will be unique as it provides space for academic instruction that will better equip students to work interprofessionally and prepare them for the workforce.

The HUB will house classrooms for Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Sports Studies, Health Administrations and Radiologic Technology classes. TriHealth representatives and faculty members of the Biology, Nursing, Occupational Therapy and Sports Studies departments will be joining The HUB planning team this January.

The HUB Team, a collection of administrators, student and staff representatives, has worked tirelessly to collect feedback and design a facility that takes care of students’ minds, bodies and spirits in accordance with Jesuit values.

A strong focus of the project is to increase overall student health with a recreation center closer to the rest of campus and access to health resources, such as wellness coaches.

Student and staff input has been taken seriously. A fourth-floor innovation lounge and outdoor roof garden have been added to the building design in response to student focus groups according to Leon.

The HUB will be replacing McGrath as well as the O’Connor Sports Center. The HUB will be able to better address students’ wellness concerns with a rotating team of health providers tailored to student demand and space for wellness coaches alongside physical and mental health clinics.

A pharmaceutical dispensary will be available to fill the most commonly used student prescriptions, but there will not be a full pharmacy. The majority of The HUB will be devoted to student recreation with three full-sized basketball courts, a running track, a natatorium and more.

Besides caring for students’ general health, The HUB design will follow Physical Plant’s principles of sustainability by recycling a former industrial site and following components of the Leaders in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standards. The design of the pathways, greenspace and building intend to maintain the “campus in a park” appeal of the university.

The HUB will be located in the lot between University Station and the Commons Apartments. Because of proximity to the residence halls, The HUB will have less parking than O’Connor.

A walking path from the Cintas parking lots and The HUB will be in the works to help manage traffic, according to Leon. Student activity is not expected to be interrupted by construction. Pedestrian and vehicular traffic will be largely maintained along Cleneay.

Students are encouraged to attend the groundbreaking ceremony this coming Monday at 2:30 p.m. to hear speeches from Father Michael Graham, president, and student representative Layne Downey. The ceremony will be held at the future home of The HUB between University Station and the Commons Apartments by the Hoop House Butterfly Garden.

By: Heather Gast ~Staff Writer~