Major Gift Supports New W&M Wellness Center

WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

Image courtesy College of William & Mary.
The master plan update classifies the central portion of campus as a “student life” area. Over the next 20 years, the college hopes to demolish the existing Student Health Center and residence lodges and replace them with an Integrated Wellness Center. (Image courtesy College of William & Mary)

A $1.5 million gift from a pair of longtime William & Mary benefactors will help the college launch its new Integrative Wellness Center in 2017.

Kelly Crace, associate vice president for health and wellness, said the contribution from Norfolk residents Bee McLeod and Goody Tyler was earmarked for wellness and gives the college financial confidence in the early stages of the project.

“Knowing we have the additional funds really helps us in our design to make sure we have the facilities and services to meet the students’ need,” Crace said.

McLeod and Tyler have donated millions to the college in recent years, including a $2.5 million toward William & Mary’s library system.

The new center, estimated to cost $13.5 million total, will emphasize a holistic approach to wellness and encourage collaboration by placing physical and mental health services, health promotion and campus recreation services under one roof, Crace said. The departments will benefit from modern, contemporary amenities as well as expanded resources.

Crace said the Integrative Wellness Center will be inclusive of all cultural approaches to health, ranging from yoga to acupuncture. He said the new building will also allow for a Center from Mindfulness and Authentic Excellence, which will guide students through developing individual flourishing and resilience.

The college has already introduced mindfulness strategies and expanding offerings is a response to student demand, Crace said.

The Integrative Wellness Center will be a 28,000-square-foot building in the heart of campus, Crace said, which in turn speaks to the central importance of well-being to a student’s life.

“The building is going to communicate a very important message of taking care of yourself and your wellbeing,” Crace said.

Ginger Ambler, vice president for student affairs, agreed and said she hopes the new center will “raise the visibility of well-being for all students.”

“We want our students to understand what contributes to wellbeing,” Ambler said. “We want our students to thrive, not just while they’re here but in their lives after William & Mary.”

Crace said the lodges across from the Sadler Center, with the exception of the Daily Grind, will be demolished and the center will be built in its place. The current Student Health Center will remain open during construction and will be demolished after the Integrative Wellness Center opens, Crace said.

The college is currently working on the design of the building, Crace said. Construction is set to being next summer and the center will open in fall 2017.