Saint Francis University | The DiSepio Institute for Rural Health & Wellness

Loretto, PA

The design of The DiSepio Institute addresses St. Francis University’s mission, strategic plan and a number of campus planning initiatives. It synthesizes private clinical practices areas with educational research programs; creates an environment to support health research program opportunities; supports the delivery of health care and provides an education facility for a new major, exercise physiology. The Institute has enabled St. Francis to integrate their health and natural science departments and the building itself makes another connection between the campus mall and athletic complex by establishing a new path of travel for students, faculty and visitors.

As the Franciscan mission of St. Francis is to heal the sick in rural and under-served settings, The DiSepio Institute provides a facility which reinforces the University’s outreach program to support the rural health initiative, CERMUSA, the Center of Excellence for Remote and Medically Under-Served Areas. It serves Cambria county and the State of Pennsylvania by enabling CERMUSA to conduct on-site testing of new technology and methodologies for delivery of health care to those in rural America.

The 3-story, 30,000 square foot building includes an education and research center, student health clinic, rehabilitation center, therapy pool, cardio-theater, strength training, biomechanics lab, cardio-vascular metabolic lab, aerobics classroom and a video-conferencing/symposium room. All of these specialized rooms support St. Francis’ academic programs in physical therapy, physician assistant science, occupational therapy, pre-medicine, pharmacy, nursing and exercise physiology.

In keeping with the ideals of St. Francis of Assissi, the Patron Saint of the Environment, the project was designed to meet LEED Silver designation. The building has a geothermal well field, storm water retention and filtration, a reflective roof, high performance glazing, 75% natural lighting, heat recovery at the therapy pool, low VOC coatings and occupancy sensor light controls.

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