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SU opens new health, recreation facility with support, counseling services

Syracuse University has opened a new health, wellness and recreation complex at the former Archbold Gymnasium building. The renovations are meant to incorporate additional mental health services to reduce stress and anxiety. 

The Barnes Center at The Arch features a pet therapy room, mindfulness spa and rock climbing, in addition to its four basketball courts, indoor track, pool, counseling center, student health center and pharmacy.

Dolan Evanovich, senior vice president for enrollment and the student experience, said for a number of years, students have been asking for more support and counseling services.

Credit Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media
WRVO Public Media
The exterior signage of the Barnes Center at The Arch is unveiled.

“A student may come in and say I’m really stressed, I have four tests this week and I need help," Evanovich said. "They’ll come in and see a counselor, and a counselor can now prescribe a personal trainer that would work out with them. Because there is a lot of research that shows that exercise and working out helps reduce stress and anxiety.”

Abigail Covington, a graduate student, said it’s great to have all the health and recreational services in one place, including the mental health component. She said the vast majority of students will, at some point, feel overwhelmed in college.

“And they need places to not just talk about the general journey of mental health, but also, what happens when I’m not feeling great," Covington said. "How do I manage my health and happiness and just the flow and pressure of not just university but professional life?”

SU spent 18 months renovating the Archbold building, where the gym, built in 1918, was still being used up until last year.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.