It’s mid-morning at the recently opened Sorenson Legacy Foundation Center of Clinical Excellence on the Utah State University campus.
Just outside the complex, children at the Edith Bowen Laboratory School play during recess, including a young boy who has clearly struck up a friendship with one of the student aides charged with looking over the activities. While chatting with the aide, the coatless first-grader’s gray T-shirt declares: “WE ARE THE FUTURE.”
This proclamation comes across as a not-so-subtle reminder to the students in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services that this is why they are here. But while they are here preparing for their future careers, there is also a sense that with the opening of the Sorenson Center last spring, the future is actually here and now.
Full of color and natural light, many of those who work, study, and receive treatment in the Sorenson Center speak of a “happy vibe” in the new facility. And when placing faculty in the building, Dean Beth Foley decided one of the best ways to speed up the interdisciplinary approach of the facility was to put professors from different departments next to each other so they could learn more about each other and potential patient needs. For instance, a speech patient might also require treatment for a psychological issue and now faculty members know someone who could help with that.
The four-story, 100,000-square-foot building is an interdisciplinary facility, bringing together clinics and services that had previously been spread across 10 different buildings on campus. Among operations now housed inside the Sorenson Center are clinics for developmental and behavioral health, hearing and balance, marriage and family therapy, movement research, psychology, speech and language, and behavior support. There are also classrooms for autism support, housing and financial counseling, and four simulation labs for USU’s nursing program.
Dean Beth Foley spearheaded the effort to construct the unique facility, which opened in May. “Other than the birth of my son, it was the best day of my life,” she declares with a large smile. “I think we accomplished what we set out to do. It’s probably better than I ever could have imagined.”
By Jeff Hunter ’96