The absolute necessity of having a college infirmary while very evident some time ago, has been absolutely proved during the past year by the fact that nearly 700 studen's have been visited in their rooms during illness. As it is now there is no provision made for the care of patients in the little so called "hospital" on Holmes Field, beyond the providing of a few rooms; and nurses have to be specially hired.
While a year ago the question of having a college infirmary was considerably agitated; now some real and tangible progress has been made. Several plans have been drawn gratis by architects interested in the matter, and the Corporation has offered a site to be selected by a committee consisting of President Eliot and Doctor Walcott. It is now necessary to raise a building fund, a fund for furnishing, and a reserved fund for liabilities. It has been decided that owing to the financial depression it is unwise to take steps toward raising a fund by general subscription just at present, meanwhile an opportunity is offered to some individual benefactor to give the building.
Dr. Clarence J. Blake, of the Medical School, has taken great interest in the matter, and has interested architects to make plans. The following is a plan which meets with Doctor Blake's entire approval: "The Infirmary is to include an administration building from which shall extend two wings made up of single rooms on either side of a hallway ten feet wide. At the end of one wing there will be a ward, a sun parlor, and a small library and writing room, while at the end of the other wing, separated from it, hewever, by a covered passage way, will be an accident and operating room with the necessary sterilizing and etherizing rooms. The wings will be but one story high, but the central building will have a second story with rooms for the friends and parents of students who may be sick in the Infirmary, while the first floor in the central building will include an administration and general reception room of a general dining room for convalescent patients and a separate dining room for nurses and attendants. Food for patients confined to their beds will be distributed from serving rooms at the side of each wing.
Heat, power and light, will be furnished from a small building in the rear of the main building, and under the same roof will be a laundry and kitchen, which will have in addition a serving room from which meals may be sent to sick students in their rooms outside of the Infirmary.
The contagious building will be entirely separate from the main building, and will have of necessity its own kitchen and sterilizing room for bedding, and a laundry.
Several schemes have been suggested to provide for the running expenses of such an Infirmary, which may be estimated at between $5,000 and $10,000 a year. While some students would be perfectly able to pay for what they would get in such an Infirmary, others would not. It has been suggested that if every student in any department resident in Cambridge were assessed one dollar a year and a further one dollar a day for every day's residence in the Infirmary beyond five days, a nominal income of $5,000 might be raised, which might be sufficient to pay its running expenses.
Again it has been suggested that the students should form a guild or aid association, with directors elected from the classes and schools, for the purpose of lumping the expenses and providing against serious crippling of the resources of any one student. Thus all expenses might be paid for members of the guild at an individual cost of from one to three dollars a year. Further, a very tangible scheme seems to be to make a charge of $5.00, for instance, in addition to the usual tuition fee. Such a plan has proved successful in the University of Virginia.