Tribal Health breaks ground on $5.2 million project

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(MCT) –The Lake County Tribal Health Consortium held a groundbreaking ceremony July 16 to mark the beginning of construction on a new wing that will more than double the clinic’s current size.

The clinic, located at 925 Bevins Court in Lakeport, is approximately 13,880 square feet. It offers medical, dental and mental health services for American Indians and Lake County residents. The tribal consortium that runs the clinic partnered with IHS, a federal health program for American Indians and Alaska Natives, to build a new, 19,880-square-foot wing.

“The expanded facility will increase our ability to meet the health care needs of existing and new patients,” LCTHC Executive Director Rob Ottone said. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to improve access to excellent health care service for Native Americans and the general public in Lake county.”

The new wing will provide additional exam rooms and 10 new dental working spaces, as well as an on-site pharmacy. Expanded primary and specialty care, radiology and an optometry suite are also part of the expansion plan.

Project Manager Steven Rugg said he expects that the expansion will be complete and open to the public in December 2010. Rugg thanked the city of Lakeport for its support of the project.

“I just want to express the excitement that we have at the California area office and also excitement at headquarters for this project,” IHS Facilities Engineer Phil Church said. “This is the first of its kind in California. This is a big step for the tribal programs in California.”

Ottone said the partnership means the consortium borrowed money for the approximately $5.2 million construction cost, and IHS is providing the staff.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is backing a loan from Butte Community Bank in Chico to fund the construction cost, according to Glenn Rilinger, the bank’s administrative vice president of commercial lending.

“This project really epitomizes what we’re trying to accomplish in rural areas, which is [to] provide affordable health care through loans and grants,” Area Director Ronald Tackett said.

The consortium consists of representatives from the Big Valley Rancheria, Elem Indian Colony, Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake, Middletown Rancheria, Robinson Rancheria and the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians.

The project has been in planning since 2002. HGA Architecture Inc. of Roseville began design work a year and a half ago. Principal and Vice President David Daily said the firm worked to make the building blend with the existing buildings, and said a health clinic should feel “like home.”

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