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Wellness center planned

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Aryn Plax
News Editor

The University of La Verne administration is considering plans to convert Davenport Dining Hall into a new health and wellness center.

“The health and wellness option has been discussed since early summer,” said Lawrence Potter, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The idea has been explored based on interest from potential donors.”

The donors have a vested interest in the study of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, obesity and mental health, Potter said.

A 2000 report by RAND Corporation said that 125 million citizens had chronic illnesses in 2000, and that the number would increase to 149 million by 2015. According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report of 2017 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30.3 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. Additionally 36.5 percent of American adults are obese, according to a 2015 CDC report.

The new wellness center would conduct research on chronic illnesses like obesity and diabetes on students and the general population of La Verne.

“The potential use of Davenport is to be a health and wellness center that has physical machines where students faculty and staff could work out,” ULV President Devorah Lieberman said. “Those machines also have the technology attached to them so that our faculty could be collecting data, working with our students, and could be doing research all at the same time on diabetes, heart disease and obesity.”

The new center would offer more exercise facilities that operate for longer hours than the facilities in the Athletics Pavilion currently do. The center could accommodate students at times when the Athletics Pavilion facilities are reserved for athlete training.

“The current facilities we have for student exercise (are) pretty limited, and the equipment is pretty out of date,” Provost Jonathan Reed said. “We would use Davenport to … expand the variety of machines, and then maybe add some other equipment to it.”

Lieberman said she has discussed the potential health center with student leaders, but the administration still plans to conduct focus groups and talk to more students about the possibility of the facility.

The administration needs to consider whether the center would be used for kinesiology classes, mental health services, or research, given the small space, Reed said. They have yet to present plans to the board of trustees.

As for dining options, students on campus will have a new dining hall located in the new dorm building being built behind the Campus Center. The new building will be complete by fall of 2018, Lieberman said.

“The current Davenport is over 50 years old and it doesn’t meet the needs of our student body, size-wise,” Lieberman said. “The kitchen is too small for what we need to cook and serve with the current student body.”

The new dorm will accommodate the combined number of students that would occupy Stu-Han and Brandt halls. Brandt will be repurposed and incorporated into the Ludwick Center, which would have a multicultural, interfaith, and community engagement focus, and Stu-Han would likely be demolished and turned into a parking lot, Potter said.

The meeting with the Board of Trustees will take place in late October. The date has yet to be determined.

Aryn Plax can be reached at aryn.plax@laverne.edu.

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