YSU students vote this week on new campus health center

A preliminary sketch of the proposed new health center on Lincoln Avenue on the YSU campus.

Youngstown State University students vote on a proposal this week to create a $34-per-semester student fee to significantly expand student health services on campus, including construction of a new student health center operated by Mercy Health.

The online vote will be taken as part of the YSU Student Government Association’s annual elections on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 3 and 4. For the fee to pass, at least 10 percent of the study body must cast votes, and at least 60 percent of those voting must vote in favor of the new fee.

Eddie Howard, vice president for Student Affairs, said the YSU administration is seeking student approval before moving the proposal to the YSU Board of Trustees and the chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, both of whom must approve the new fee.

“We believe this proposal makes sense and will increase the amount and quality of health services that we can provide to our students,” he said. “I am hopeful that students will support it.”

Currently, Mercy Health and YSU operate a student health center out of offices in Kilcawley House on the YSU campus. The center, staffed by a doctor three days a week, is open weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

With more students living on campus and increased foot traffic at the Kilcawley health center site, YSU and Mercy Health are proposing a new, 5,000-square-foot building at 23 Lincoln Ave. on campus, adjacent to the new Enclave apartment and retail complex now under construction.

The new center would become a Mercy Primary Care Center, offering a variety of free services with a full-time doctor and nurse practitioner/physician’s assistant on staff. The center will have expanded hours of operations, including some weekend hours, and also will provide expanded mental health services, staffed by a psychiatrist and a psychiatric nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant.

The center also will be open to YSU employees and the general public, although Howard said there will be a separate entrance for students. Howard also noted that all other comprehensive public universities in Ohio have either a student health fee, like the one being proposed by YSU, or require students to have health insurance.

For more information, visit www.ysu.edu/vote4health.