The Jan. 18 opening ceremony for Binghamton University’s new Decker Student Health Services Center unveiled renovations funded by a $1.5 million donation from the Dr. G. Clifford and Florence B. Decker Foundation.
The Decker Foundation money was used to add more exam rooms, improve workspaces for medical and support staff, upgrade equipment and purchase new furnishings for the waiting room.
The original facility was built in 1966 when enrollment was only 6,000. Enrollment at the University has more than doubled since then, requiring upgrades in equipment and the number of exam rooms, which have been funded by the Decker Foundation’s gift.
“The Health Services center needed to be upgraded. It was made in the days when students stayed in overnight infirmaries,” said Gerald Putman, the executive director of the Decker Foundation. “Today walk-in clinics are much different and we needed the center to be brought up to a state-of-the-art facility.”
The grant has also contributed to the new electronic record system, replacing the former paper filing system.
According to a statement from the University, the facility has been “transformed into an efficient, well-equipped health service center that can serve 15,000-plus students.”
“Overall, the students should receive the same top-notch healthcare as they do a top-notch education,” said Cory Jacobs, senior director of Major Gifts.
Jacobs coordinated the grant process, as the health center worked with the Decker Foundation to develop the grant and present the project to the Decker Foundation’s board of directors. According to Jacobs, the Decker Foundation aims to better the health care of the Broome County region.
“Students, while they are here, are temporary residents and contributors to the Southern Tier,” Jacobs said. “So while [the Decker Foundation is] helping the students, they are in turn influencing the future nurses and doctors of Broome County who are able to train at the Decker Student Health Services Center.”
Though the grant funded physical updates, the service hours of the center will remain the same.
“The grant focused on facility renovation and the ability to service students more efficiently,” said BU spokesman Ryan Yarosh.
Andrea Jimenez, a sophomore double-majoring in Spanish and Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies (LACAS), hopes to enroll in the Decker School of Nursing and wants to see how the donation will improve efficiency of the health center.
“I hope as a student I can really experience the changes,” Jimenez said. “In the past I have had to miss class to receive care because of the limited hours, and often I questioned the quality of care I received.”
Putman said the Decker Foundation typically focuses on capital projects for education and health care.
“This was a case when I met with President DeFleur and staff to talk about specific projects. The health center fit our mission and was a place campus was hoping to renovate,” he added.
This particular gift is one of the lead gifts of Binghamton’s Bold.Brilliant.Binghamton campaign. The campaign hopes to encourage others to make transformational gifts of their own, according to Jacobs.
The Decker Foundation has given the University more than $6.4 million in its three-decade existence. In addition to the renovation, those gifts have built the Decker School of Nursing, the Decker Foundation Fellowship in Nursing, and the Decker Chair in Community Health Nursing.
In addition, the foundation has contributed to the School of Management, the Decker School of Nursing during the Academic 1 building project, the Decker Chair in Rural Nursing, and the Decker School’s Innovative Practice Center.
“We are so grateful for the ongoing support of the Decker Foundation. They have had such an impact on Binghamton University and Broome County as a whole,” Jacobs said.