MCCC Debuts Pottstown Students’ Wellness Center

Combined learning and relaxation spaces (at top) play a role in the new Montgomery County Community College wellness center in Pottstown

POTTSTOWN PA – Montgomery County Community College officially opened its new Wellness Center on Friday (Dec. 2, 2022) in North Hall, on the East High Street portion of its Pottstown campus. The event introduced newly re-designed spaces for an array of physical and mental health support services to help students succeed academically and personally.

MCCC Debuts Pottstown Students’ Wellness Center
When college students need some space to be alone, or to talk out problems with a friendly ear, facilities at the center can accommodate them

As the college’s most recent innovation, the center offers what it described as “a centralized, tiered system of wellness resources to help students with the vital essentials.” The resources include potential solutions for food and housing insecurities, physical and mental well-being, and family care needs.

Research showed those and other services, targeted toward students and their specific challenges, were desperately needed, college President Dr. Victoria L. Bastecki-Perez said. The less students worried about where they would get a night’s sleep, or the next day’s meals, the more they could focus on doing well in their studies, she indicated.

There are obvious benefits for the college and community, too, other speakers acknowledged. As academic scores rise and more students graduate, they find valuable employment. The local economy expands as a result. So does the college alumni base, as well as its potential future audience for enrollments.

The college foresees the Wellness Center as becoming “a model for other higher education institutions to serve the essential needs of their students in this holistic manner,” Bastecki-Perez added.

MCCC Debuts Pottstown Students’ Wellness Center

College Board of Trustees’ members, local and state officials, and other community and business leaders – before and after Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony (above) – said they recognized the value.

In late 2021, the college received a $1.1 million Community Mental Health Services Block Grant from Montgomery County designated by the state to support higher education individuals experiencing mental health challenges. About $1 million paid for an imaginative renovation of part of North Hall as the Wellness Center.

MCCC Debuts Pottstown Students’ Wellness Center
The college Wellness Center cafe features health foods grown in hydroponic pods (at right)

The remaining $100,000 supports the college’s existing Partnership on Work Enrichment and Readiness program, which has offices in the center.

“At MCCC, we open the door to higher education for all learners. But sometimes an open door is not enough,” Varsovia Fernandez, chair of the board of trustees said during the ceremony. “We have to remove the barriers that stand in the way of students crossing the threshold and going through that door. Providing our students with these wrap-around services not only allows them to focus on their studies, but also provides them with a sense of belonging.”

MCCC Debuts Pottstown Students’ Wellness Center
A large crowd filled the entrance hallway to the wellness center, as well as a portion of the adjacent North Hall gallery

Photos by The Post