James Madison University

NEW COLLEGES FORMED A plan to reorganize the College of Integrated Science and Technology into two colleges took effect July 1, 2012. The new colleges are the College of Health and Behavioral Studies and the College of Integrated Science and Engineering.

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Human Service Agencies Move Into New Home

PHOTO: IIHHS Move

By WENDY PAGONIS
Daily News-Record

Want a translator or help with an elderly relative? Maybe a phone number for mental health services?

It’s available in one place on James Madison University’s campus.

The school’s Institute for Innovative Health and Human Services has moved several nonprofit agencies into Blue Ridge Hall, a three-story building across University Boulevard from Costco. The Office on Children and Youth, Promotoras de Salud and the Community Health Interpreter Service are among the army of community service organizations that relocated into Blue Ridge Hall this summer.

Phone numbers and e-mail addresses stayed the same, but the digs are a welcomed change.

The agencies were formerly housed in individual trailers tucked into a wooded area at the school’s eastern edge. Now they are under one roof. The move should make it easier for clients and volunteers to find what they are looking for. Like one-stop shopping, a visit to Blue Ridge Hall offers a variety of community services. And that’s not all. People live there, too.

Half of Blue Ridge Hall is a dormitory for university students. According to Emily Akerson, the institute’s program coordinator, that’s a plus for the nonprofit groups, which always look for volunteers.

"It’s one of the wonderful benefits," Akerson says. But it goes both ways. "The students have the opportunity to use the skills and knowledge they’re learning in the classroom in real life situations."

The institute will hold an open house Sept. 19 with refreshments so local residents and students can get a look at the new offices and ask questions.

JMU spokesman Fred Hilton says the move to Blue Ridge Hall was part of another building project. As crews renovate Harrison Hall, people in that building had to relocate to the trailers where many of the community service groups were housed.

"It’s not unusual at all to move administration offices around," Hilton said.

He expects the Harrison Hall project to take a couple of years.

Contact Wendy Pagonis at 574-6279 or pagonis@dnronline.com