Limited facilities hours evoke concerns

Featured Image: A student stands outside the Sentara Student Health Center at 2:15 p.m., after it had closed. Lily Reslink | Marlin Chronicle

Campus facilities, especially the Sentara Health Clinic, have elicited questions about their ability to serve students given limited scheduled open hours.

The facilities on campus provide students with services ranging from medical care, food and postage. 

The Jane P. Batten Student Center holds many of these resources and more. While the Batten Student Center as a facility is open early for collegiate sports, many places open between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. and close around 4 p.m. 

These are based on building and office hours. Director of Student Health April Christman said, “Counseling Services hours are based on the University’s operating hours; however, there are provisions in place for emergency situations, such as those that may be life-threatening, through Campus Security and Residence Life.”

The one facility with a very different schedule is the Sentara Health Clinic, located in Allen Village. The clinic is open 10 a.m to 2 p.m, Monday through Friday, allotting a four-hour window for students to get treatment. A clinic is a useful resource for sustaining the well-being of campus residents, but limited hours have made this resource difficult to access.

The exact reason for these abridged hours is unknown. The clinic’s staff said that “the school told us to use these hours,” as that is what they are contracted for. 

Christman said that the Student Health Clinic “truly is a Sentara-managed facility, and they are bound by their own policies and practices.”

Christman mentioned that a survey put out by the clinic has seen positive responses. “The results of their practice survey that has been available to students who receive their services since their arrival on campus years ago have been favorable,” she said.

When the staff is available, junior Clay Yokom has found the Health Clinic to be effective in treatment. “They gave me a great idea of what was wrong when I tore a muscle in my arm,” Yokom said. 

Yokom said appointments generally run around half an hour, but it can extend significantly over that if the clinic is busy. 

“Waiting is hard because you never know if there will be two people, no people or five people. And if there’s too many, there’s no way I’ll be able to have an appointment before I have a class,” Yokom said. 

Yokom also pointed out that going to the clinic in his limited free time between the 10 a.m to 2 p.m period would mean sacrificing lunch if there was any kind of long waits.

Although the Health Clinic does not treat emergencies, the VWU website states that it does “basic labs” along with “evaluation and treatment for routine illness and injury.”

For example, first-year Jack Aufderheide, Batten Center employee, utilized the Health Clinic to get diagnosed with a sinus infection and receive the proper care and medication to relieve it.

The need for treatment along with the short hours may cause students to avoid getting the help they need due to time constraints. 

“I actually have classes during the hours. I have a two-hour window on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. But it’s not always easy. The first time I went, they weren’t even there. I made a big plan to go, then I showed up and there’s a sign that said it was closed for the day,” Yokom said. 

To communicate these closings, Aufderheide suggested a “collective online account that could share when facilities are closed or have unexpected shutdowns, such as an Instagram.”

The mail room is another service that some students wished was open longer. “The mailroom is hard to access sometimes due to my class hours,” Aufderheide said. 

Balancing the needs of staff with the needs of students creates challenges when it comes to creating these hours.

While the Batten Student Center itself is open until 11 p.m, the duplication center closes at 4 p.m. 

Dining services such as the Harbor Grill and Starbucks close at 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and are not open on the weekends. 

Security, on the other hand, has 24-hour availability. They can help students with a range of issues from emergencies to locked rooms. “Security helped me to open a room in Greer for a study group when it was locked late at night,” Aufderheide said.

Most facilities can be accessed by students on some days, as the usual 6 or more hour schedule is flexible enough to accommodate day classes. Ollie Long, also an employee at the Batten Student Center, said, “My class schedule lines up with the hours in a way where I can go to any office if I need to.”

To gain more student opinions, it may be prevalent to survey students to see if hours could be adjusted.


By Elliot Fylstra