Concern Surrounding UNL Health Center

By: Cole Miller

University officials say the current health center is outdated and overcrowded. They're now seeking bidders to build a new, privately operated facility.

A town hall style forum was held Thursday, where students and faculty came with questions, but feel they didn't get enough answers.

There was a larger than anticipated crowd at the Union, firing off questions and concerns to Vice Chancellors and the University Health Center Director. UNL says it's time for a new health center, and to afford one, they're seeking bids from private companies.

Among the concerns are location, lack of student input and additional costs. But perhaps the biggest is the potential loss of jobs.

Dr. Juan Franco, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, says it would be up to the new employer who stays on.

“My hope is that since there will be jobs available and our folks are trained to work with college-aged students on college health, that most of them will be retained,” Franco said.

Many students who spoke out say there are too many questions that still need to be answered.

“When we ask questions today, when other people ask questions, the responses that they got were, 'Oh, well, we haven't done the research, we don't know.' Or, 'We're thinking about it, we'll talk about it.' When you're talking about the healthcare of a people, those are not good answers,” Ph.D student Nkem Kalem said.

As far as a timeline on the project, officials say they hope to have an outline to the Board of Regents by January 25th. Ideally, a new facility would be in place by 2014.

Dr. Franco says there will be more opportunities for students and faculty to express their concerns or to ask questions. So far, there has been one bid to build a facility, that coming from Bryan Health.