Student health service commenced at Kansas State University in 1913 and was housed on the second floor of Anderson Hall, now the main administrative building.
In 1920, Student Health moved into an old two-story stone building, built in 1866 and located near the northeast corner of what is now the University Power Plant. The building had previously been the residence of President Anderson and President Fairchild. Enlargements to the structure, using materials from an old stone barn, which had been located on the property, allowed the facility to house a dozen student patients.
Following World War I, and again after World War II, surplus military barracks were acquired and added to the stone building, providing a total of 80 beds and expanded space for the entire staff, x-ray, laboratory, physical therapy and an outpatient clinic.
After many trials and tribulations with the old facility, construction began in 1958 on a new facility located adjacent to the campus library. It was completed at a cost of $550,000 and initially occupied in November 1959. The facility was named after Dr. Benjamin Lafene who was director of the Health Center from 1949 through 1961.
The new facility contained 19 double bed rooms and two single occupant rooms as well as modern facilities to house all the necessary ancillary services and a clinic for outpatients.
In 1987 the hospital portion of the health services was closed due to declining utilization and an increased emphasis being placed on ambulatory services. For the first time in its history, a non-physician was appointed as Director early in 1989. A Medical Director was also appointed to oversee the medical care provided by staff.
The Center relocated in July 2003 to Mercy Regional Health Center, Sunset Campus which is adjacent to the west side of campus near Marlatt Hall.
Today the Lafene Health Center employs over 70 staff including six full-time physicians with a full complement of medical and clerical support personnel. On the average, over 300 students present themselves at Lafene each weekday during the fall and spring semesters, to have their health care needs met.
Lafene Health Center, K-State's student health care facility, is professionally accredited as an outpatient healthcare facility by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. In order to be accredited, the Health Center must meet rigorous clinical and management standards. The Health Center had been accredited by Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations continuously since 1968 through June, 2008. The financial structure of the Health Center consists of an operating budget entirely funded by KSU students through a mandatory, per student, per credit hour support fee included in the student’s tuition and through fee for service charges for ancillary services.
The Health Center has more than 12 departments including Administration, Audio/Visual Testing, Business Office, Clinical Laboratory, Environmental Services, General Outpatient Clinic, Health Information Management, Health Promotion, Intramural Training, Medical Transcriptionists, Nutrition Counseling, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Radiology, Sports Medicine, Triage, and Women’s Clinic.