UHS awaits renovation’s finish

By Rob Heselbarth

The continuing saga of the asbestos removal and renovation in the University Health Service (UHS) building has not reached a conclusion quite yet.

Roland Schreiber, architect for NIU Architectural and Engineering Services, said the project is on schedule for its completion in spring of 1993.

“The removal of the asbestos is complete,” Schreiber said. “There may be just a few things left to do if any. We’re working on the renovation at this point.”

UHS Director Rosemary Lane said as far as she knows, UHS is planning to move back to its original building during the break between spring and summer of 1993.

“The move will take a couple of weeks, but we will try to get a skeleton operation set up for students in the meantime,” Lane said.

As a result of the asbestos removal and renovation project, UHS was forced to move to temporary locations.

Eddie Williams, vice president of Finance and Planning, said NIU was able to scrounge up enough money to meet the cost of relocating UHS.

“We have $129,000 this fiscal year to cover the cost of putting parts of the health center in the Holmes Student Center, the DeKalb Clinic and Neptune East,” Williams said.

He said UHS is being charged the same rate as any other customer renting space in the HSC.

“However, if it is hotel room space being rented, it is not the same rate as usual,” he said. “We are charged a reasonable per-square-foot rate.

“When we have an emergency where we have to vacate one location and move to another, we squeeze together to cover expenses,” he said.

However, residing in temporary locations has caused some problems and forced changes in the way UHS is run.

Richard Rice, UHS program administrative assistant, said the method of purchasing UHS supplies is different since it is working out of temporary locations.

“We still work with the same vendors we usually do,” he said. “We’re just ordering less supplies, more frequently.”

Rice said supplies are kept on the floor instead of in storage because of the lack of storage space in the temporary


“When we were in our building, people didn’t pay much attention to stock,” he said. “Now we only order enough for a week or so and operate week-to-week.”

However, Rice said the change in the purchasing method has not had an adverse effect on cost.

“The prices are fixed for a contract year, so they really don’t change,” he said. “There is no discount for quantity buying, so we’re not losing any money by buying less supplies.”

In addition to the change in purchase method, Lane said the temporary locations have caused other changes.

“It is very difficult to provide quality health care in a tightly-confined environment,” she said.

Part of the health center has been relocated to a limited amount of space in the HSC.

Lane said practitioners only work out of one room each, so patients must wait while the room is being prepared for the next patient. As a result, time between appointments has increased.

In addition, Lane said there is not enough room in the HSC to house all of their services, so some, such as gynecological services, were moved elsewhere.

“DeKalb Clinic gave us alternate space to use in their east pavilion, and when we leave, they will use the area themselves,” she said.

Lane also said space limitations have prohibited other services.

“There was a lack of space and we had no room for the wart clinic to work in so we had to cancel it,” she said.