The New and Improved Wellness Center

Jordan Cummings, Contributor

The Wellness Center, which houses health and counseling services, has been located in the Barry B. Thompson Student Center since 1996, but over winter break, it finally got a new location. You can now find it in Traditions North residential hall. This hall is directly to the left of the Recreation Sports Center when facing the front of the building.

There were many factors that went into the decision to move across campus. Dr. Brenda Faulkner, the Director of Student Counseling, said, “With the growth of the campus and looking at the 2020 plan about five years ago, the expectation would be that the center of campus would be more this direction than where it used to be ten to fifteen years ago. When they came through and were going to build Traditions North, the thought was to occupy the first level and move services to a more central location.”

There are several programs inside the counseling center.

“We have traditional student counseling services: group therapy, individual and couples counseling and what we usually see most is anxiety and depression,” Faulkner explained. “We do a mental first aid training to help everyone who’s not a counselor understand what concerns they have about mental health: what happens if a student says they’re thinking of taking their life, what happens if there’s a death of the student body or in the family. Grades falling is a big one, so our mission is to address the needs of the students to get them toward academic success.”

Counseling services received a grant in August to provide services for survivors of sexual assault, trauma, harassment and stalking. They added some additional counselors for survivors and are expanding the services they have.

“If someone has experienced trauma on campus or in the past, we have services that are particularly focused for that,” Faulkner said.

The health center is also getting a few updates.

Bridgette Bednarz, the director of the health center, said “Right now we see a lot of students. We collaborate with the counseling center and see all students that are sick, or if they just want to come in and consult or talk about the different programs,” she explained.

The health center prescribes medication, has crutch rental and nebulizers for asthma patients. They also have all sorts of services, such as physical exams, sick or well visits and lab work. Bednarz hopes that an x-ray machine will be added into the works within the next three to five years.

The sports medicine master’s program rotates with them as well so that they “can see things other than sprains and strains so they can do their job better,” according to Bednarz. She also hopes to work with students in the nursing programs on some rotations in the future.

“Something else we’re very proud of is we now have an ADA bed, so those students who are in wheelchairs and who are handicapped, it’ll be easier for them to get on and off the table,” Bednarz said.

This bed has an electric pedal that will lift and lower the whole bed, so they can get on and off with ease.

She also hopes that the clinic will be able to see more patients. They are going to expand with new providers now that they have the space. They want to be able to see more students at a time so that there is not a waiting list and students don’t have to go elsewhere.

Bednarz and Faulkner both agreed that it’s important for students to know that they pay for both services with the health services fee. Other than the minimal charges for lab work, there’s no fees to see a provider or a counselor.

One of their favorite things about the new building is being on the first floor. Bednarz said that it was a hindrance being on the second floor in the past because of wheelchairs or crutches and the elevator was not always in service.

Faulkner would like students to know that the only public entrance is on Rome Street, which is the street that runs in front of the Recreation Sports Center. There are automatic sliding doors that students should enter through.

“Right now those entrance doors are blacked out, but that does not mean we’re closed. It will be scraped off,” Bednarz explained.

“We do offer more of a level of security and privacy with the waiting rooms here. You don’t walk in and see everybody sitting waiting on the health or counseling side,” Faulkner said. “We’re real excited. These are very spacious and we’re just hoping the clients that we had before will find us again and the new clients will see us,” she added.

An open house is scheduled for March 8.

Visit the Health Center at or call them at (254) 968-9271 and the Counseling Center at or call them at (254) 968-9044.