Kansas State students and faculty returning to school next semester may be surprised when they notice a change on campus. The university’s Counseling Services will be relocating from the top floor of the current English and Counseling Services Building to Lafene Health Center.
“It’s much more convenient to have it here [on campus],” Peyton Minor, freshman in chemical engineering, said. Minor also said she thinks the administration should “ask the students here on campus what they think about it and get their opinion before they decide to move it.”
Daniel Larson, the director of Counseling Services at K-State, said he has varied emotions about the relocation.
“I have mixed feelings,” Larson said. “Here, we’re a central location. The students know that we’re here. The students come in, they can come in between classes. It’s fairly easy. Its walking distance is not a big problem for the majority of students.
“Space-wise, there’s some real benefits for us [at Lafene],” Larson continued. “There may be some additional benefits being closer to Lafene Health Center in terms of collaboration.”
Larson also said there is the possibility of a change in the number of students who visit Counseling Services after the relocation.
“We’re very interested to see how the foot traffic happens,” Larson said. “Our services are so utilized that it’s possible that there could be a dip, but I think that the students who are wanting our services, I believe that they’re going to make use of it even if we’re a little bit further away.”
While this relocation is going to be occurring in the near future, the buildup has been a long time coming. When the English Department moved into the same building as the Counseling Services, former university president Jon Wefald promised the English Department it would eventually be allocated the entire building.
“Lafene Health Center moved into a property that was purchased by the campus, which was the old memorial hospital,” said Pat Bosco, vice president of student life and dean of students. “Lafene and the counseling center occupied the same building. What we’re doing is resurrecting that relationship where, physically, Lafene is located in proximity with our university counseling center.”
Bosco also addressed the moving of Counseling Services from its centralized location on campus.
“Lafene Health Center enjoys about 45,000 visitors a year,” Bosco said. “The campus community is moving north and west, so in some ways, it’s a natural walk. I certainly appreciate the fact that our university counseling center is located in the center of the campus, but hopefully with renovated facilities and reuniting … Lafene Health Center and the university counseling center, we’ll enhance our direct services to our students.”
The university’s current plan is to move the Counseling Services over winter break so students can continue utilizing the counseling center going into next semester.
“Timeline-wise, if everything goes as planned in terms of getting it ready, they’re looking at physically moving on around Jan. 2 so that we can be ready for the start of the spring semester,” Larson said.