In an effort to improve services available to students at the University of Dallas, the University of Dallas administration is currently planning to eliminate the McDermott suite in Upstairs Haggar in order to provide additional space to campus ministry, the counseling center and the health clinic.
“It’s pretty cramped up there [Upstairs Haggar],” said Interim President Dr. John Plotts.
Currently, the plan is to “do away with the McDermott suite and expand the counseling center, the health center, and the campus ministry into that space into some type of configuration,” Plotts said.
The University News reached out to Director of Campus Ministry Nick Lopez, Vice President of Legal and Board Services Karin Rilley, and Director of Facilities James McGovern, but they all declined to comment since the plan is still under discussion and subject to change.
“I think there was some debate by the occupants as to whether the design that we had come up with is the most functional, which we certainly want their input; they’re the professionals as to know what would be the best structure up there,” Plotts said.
Plotts said that the plan should be finalized by graduation, since construction will start soon afterwards.
The McDermott suite provides convenient housing to the annual McDermott professor.
However, Plotts said that the university would instead provide housing at a hotel. This can actually be a benefit to the visiting professor, since the McDermott suite is close to public areas and can get noisy at times.
The plan is expected to cost around $25,000, and would be included in next year’s budget or would be funded by donors, according to Plotts.
“I think it’s a good thing,” said Courtney Nguyen, a student worker at the health clinic. “One of the counselors came over to talk about it with Dr. Rodriguez and Nancy [Hawman], and it sounds like we’re going to have a bigger and shared waiting room. This renovation is positive in that those who come for counseling don’t have to have an awkward conversation from accidentally walking into the clinic. Some people would like to have that privacy of going to the counselors.”
“For the clinic, it means more space to be more efficient,” Nguyen added. “Also, it would give us the opportunity to make the bigger waiting area more comforting for both physical or mental health patients. Currently, it can get pretty crowded when we are busy and the counselors don’t even have a waiting room, leading them to have to direct people who are in crisis to someplace else isolated to wait.”
According to Plotts, the remodeling would occur over the summer and be finished before the 2019-2020 academic year starts.
“My goal is to make a mind, body, spirit location for students,” said Plotts.