The William & Mary Real Estate Foundation is in the process of purchasing property located at 332 N. Henry St. in Williamsburg and has submitted a special use permit application to the city, according to W&M officials.
William & Mary will lease the space from the foundation and plans to contract with a third-party provider to offer students more convenient access to expanded health services. The special use permit will continue to allow the operation of medical office and traditional office space within the existing 23,332-square-foot building, which is located within walking distance of campus.
The property is being purchased in a sealed bid process following a protracted time on the market. The real estate transaction is expected to close in October pending approval of the special use permit, according to Sean Hughes, executive director of the William & Mary Real Estate Foundation. The building, which is already outfitted as a medical facility inside, won’t undergo exterior renovation.
“The William & Mary Real Estate Foundation is excited to fill a need for additional university space, especially since this purchase will reactivate an existing building in Williamsburg so close to the campus,” Hughes said.
The new facility is expected to provide specialized health services for W&M students that are not currently available and require referrals to providers and facilities off campus. The university will contract with a third-party provider to operate the facility.
The on-campus McLeod Tyler Wellness Center opened in August of 2018 and houses the Health Center, Counseling Center, Office of Health Promotion, Campus Recreation’s wellness programming and the Center of Mindfulness and Authentic Excellence. Currently services such as orthopedics and X-rays require off-campus referrals.
“This property will provide students with expanded and more convenient access to specialized healthcare services — services for which our William & Mary practitioners are already making off-campus referrals,” said Ginger Ambler, vice president for student affairs.
“Recognizing that wellness is critical to student learning and success, I am excited by this opportunity. I look forward to exploring how this facility can best support the university as we support students and promote their health and well-being.”
Kelly Crace, associate vice president of health and wellness, described the potential benefits.
“William & Mary is deeply committed both to providing comprehensive, holistic healthcare and also to managing an increasing demand for services,” Crace said. “Having expanded services so close to campus will enhance access and utilization of a broader scope of healthcare offerings.”
As student health needs continue to increase, universities have to provide more support services for them, according to university officials.
“William & Mary’s pursuit of additional student health space is not just about another facility, it is about continuing the development of lifelong and holistic health practices within the university community and the larger Williamsburg community,” according to the special use permit application. “This facility has the opportunity to serve the students in meaningful and necessary ways by reducing wait times, providing additional health related services, and doing so within walking distance of campus.
“Additionally, it will reactivate a vacant building in Williamsburg, add vibrancy by drawing students through the downtown area and continue to generate property tax revenues for the City of Williamsburg. Student and community health is a vital part of the William & Mary experience, one which will be significantly enhanced by the function and space at 332 North Henry Street.”
The W&M Real Estate Foundation’s special use permit application will go to the City of Williamsburg Planning Commission for a public hearing and approval on Sept. 18. If approved, the permit would then go to City Council for approval.