Construction of the new University Health Center will begin late this Spring after 25 years of discussion without action. "We have needed modern facilities since at least 1924," Dana L. Farnsworth, Director of University Health Services, commented, "but only recently have sufficient funds become available."
Preliminary plans for the 10-story structure have been completed, but actual working drawings will require six months or more for completion. The Center itself will be built in three stages over a period of time not yet determined. The first section of the building will open in the Spring of 1962, or possibly in the Fall of 1961.
By means of careful architectural planning, the present health building will not be torn down until the first part of the new structure has been finished. The businesses on Mt. Auburn and Holyoke Streets must be removed, and eviction notices dated April 1 have already been served.
In contrast with the outmoded Still-man Infirmary, the new structure has been planned for far greater efficiency and convenience. Students will not have to walk up a flight or more of stairs to see a doctor, nor walk to Stillman Infirmary to receive medical attention after 5 p.m. Some 13 doctor's offices are situated on the first floor, and at least one doctor will be on duty 24 hours per day in the new building.
Ward areas have also been designed for maximum efficiency. The 26 rooms, which normally contain one or two beds, can, during epidemics, hold two or three beds. On the fourth floor, which will serve as the Harvard infirmary, the normal capacity of 74 beds can be easily expanded to 120. By contrast, Stillman Infirmary cannot hold more than 80 patients without serious crowding problems.