The University of Chicago is an urban research university that is considered one of the leading institutions in the world. As part of Campus and Student Life, the University’s Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) operation provides students with access to physical, mental, and social health resources. SHCS is comprised of three departments: Student Health Service, Student Counseling Service, and Health Promotion and Wellness. Historically, these departments and their services have operated independently and were housed in different locations on campus.

With the goal of taking a more holistic, integrative approach to providing health services to their students, the University sought a partner who could help them create a facility that would bring these three departments and their services together to enhance student care. With Wight’s Design Led-Design Build approach, the University achieved this goal. The Student Wellness Center was not only completed in 2020 during the peak of the Coronavirus pandemic, but it was also done faster and with 15% savings to budget that added more value and scope.

The project included a new addition to the building that infills an existing courtyard, and the renovation of two wings of an existing historic hospital. In-depth student input guided the design and shaped the experience. Elements of the original building were captured within the new space, and the addition meets the original stone walls through a delicate touch of continuous glass skylights. The new glass façade is visible through the historic entrance colonnade, and juxtaposes elements from different eras in a cohesive, contemporary manner. The facility incorporates principles of health and wellness, sustainability, and best practices for medical planning. Wight’s integrated team of architecture, engineering, and construction management delivered this project a full two years ahead of the University’s original schedule. The project received a LEED Gold certification by the USGBC.

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