After much anticipation, students returned to campus in September to find the new health center in full operation.
In addition to the medical facilities and new health class and counseling rooms, the newly opened D.S. Chen Health Center also houses student services, including E&R Laundry and Shipping & Receiving.
Deerfield alumnus Jack Chen ’08 named the building after his father, Chairman Chen (Dongsheng Chen). Mr. Chen is the founder and chairman of Taikang Life Insurance Company Limited, the fourth largest life insurer in China.
The Chen family, who currently reside in Beijing, were on campus for the official dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony, which took place on Oct. 25, 2019.
Head of School John Austin, President of the Board of Trustees Brian Simmons, and members of the Chen family were among those who spoke at the dedication.
D.S. Chen and his family has contributed significantly to Deerfield, funding all the annual faculty trips to China for the past ten years.
Since the start of these trips, over 40 employees at Deerfield have had the opportunity to visit different regions of China and experience the local culture.The D.S. Chen Health Center features state-of-the-art facilities, which both students and medical staff are excited about. “I think the feel of it is just open, airy and clean,’’ Nurse Linnea Constant said.
Anne Brown ’21 said, “I think it was necessary for the health center to be upgraded because the previous one was just a bit outdated.”
When discussing the impact that the new facility will have on the Deerfield community, Nurse Christine O’Neil said, “I think the advantage of the new building is that there is much more space; we were very crowded in the old building. Everything is more spread out which allows for more privacy. Everyone seems to have their own space, so we’re not as on top of each other as we were before.”
O’Neil finds that although the buildings are different, they are unique. “I really liked the old building because it was quaint and cozy. This feels different because it’s so big. There are advantages to both [buildings]. The rooms [in the new building] are easier to maneuver,” O’Neil said.
With the new building comes more advanced climate control and private bathrooms in many of the rooms, which the previous building did not have.
Additionally, the new health center does not have a dorm attached to it, unlike the previous health center which was attached to Dewey dorm.
“I like that it’s so much quieter and less disruptive as there isn’t a constant flow of people coming from a dorm,” Brown stated.
However, just as before, the health center includes counseling services, including an office for the peer counselors.
“I think the old health center was a bit less approachable than the new one, especially the peer counseling room because it was situated in the basement,’’ shared peer counselor Elsa Marrian ’21. “The new peer counseling room is a lot cozier and it feels like a safe space.”
In addition to the peer counseling office on the second floor, there is a classroom for health classes. The openness of the new health center allows for more accessibility between students and the medical staff.
“We are seeing more kids as they come into health class – before we never saw them because it was separated,” explains Nurse Constant.
With the new classrooms in the health center, students have been able to learn in a far more updated and more modern space during their health classes.
With the new health curriculum being implemented this year, having freshmen and sophomores having health class every term, these new classrooms have already been put to good use.
So far, the new and vibrant D.S. Chen Health Center has already been in full operation and well used, as the medical staff has received more students during the first month of school than years before.
Marrian shared, “The new health center feels a lot cleaner and it just seems like a better place to be in if you’re sick.”
The beauty and “cleanliness” of the new Health Center is evident from first glance. The large glass windows let in an abundance of light and the modern interior boasts both beauty and utility.
Constructed very similar to the new Athletic Center, the Health Center is an incredibly modern and impressive facility that we should count ourselves lucky to have access to.
The Deerfield community benefits from the generosity of the Chen family and other donors, which has allowed for a new state-of-the-art health facility. This facility emphasizes Deerfield’s commitment to every student’s wellness both in and out of the classroom.