New Education Union and recreation area will improve SLU, but might break us in two

Saint Louis University boasts of its focus on the health sciences, even in our missions statement, and with good reason. We not only have one of the best programs for pre-medical studies in the country, we have one of only 42 health colleges nationwide.

A recent project that has been developing for some years holds all the promise of tremendously improving our already well-developed Medical Center. In a laudable effort by the administration, construction south of Frost Campus is ushering in new and necessary facilities for med-campus students.

Beginning with the construction of the Edward A. Doisy Research Center in 2007, fresh rumblings of construction have been resonating from the Saint Louis University Medical Center. The new Education Union, similar in function to the Busch Student Center, will be finished in 2011.

The new facility will alleviate some of the meddling inconveniences that medical center students endure, such as a lack of study spaces at the Medical Center; the new edifice will sport student lounges, study areas and a café-style restaurant.

The 30,000-square-foot facility will also house a state-of-the-art, 225-seat auditorium for lecture classes and a mock doctor’s office where students will interact with actors to practice recognizing and diagnosing illnesses. Rounding off this cascade of development is a new athletic center with an NCAA-regulation track and soccer field, which will grace the Medical Center a short distance from the union building.

Med-campus students have long suffered the lack of study space available to them. Juniors and seniors, who have nearly all of their classes there, have to inconvenience themselves by crossing the Grand Bridge to study on Frost Campus, since the study spaces on the Med Center is inadequate to student demand. With study lounges and dining facilities, SLU students who spend significant amounts of time at the med-center will not have to bear the hassle of moving between the two campuses (especially with a shuttle service that is greatly in need of reorganization, and a bridge that is closing down in a few short months.)

The administration has assuredly acted upon a student need. In coming years, the comfort level of the Med Center will increase exponentially for these SLU students.

We celebrate the coming advancements, however, with a grain of salt. Frost Campus and the med-center have begun to grow into distinctive worlds, as students with health-oriented majors spend greater amounts of time and energy together immersed in their respective fields of study.  Campus events that bring diverse groups of students together are held on the Frost Campus.

We have begun to see a divide between the two groups, and it is crucial that we retain our identities as Billikens; with the new facilities, it will be more than easy for Med Center students to separate into their own group. We wish to see all students pursue, wholeheartedly and studiously, their majors and interests. In this process, however, we need to find ways to bond and grow as Billikens.

We urge greater advertising for student events on the Med Center and greater efforts by the administration to bring students together from both campuses to share in the Billiken spirit.