Ronald Castle, the CEO of Community Health Centers of the Central Coast, delivered a message to the Lompoc community Friday before symbolically breaking ground on a new facility in the city the organization is dubbing a medical “supercenter.”
“We’re going to make a commitment to you (and) and we’re not going to disappoint you,” Castle said. “You’re going to be very proud of not only the building that is built, but (also) the services that are provided.”
Castle made the remarks during a small reception held in a parking lot near the plot of land in the 1200 block of West Ocean Avenue on which the new 28,000-square-foot CHC building is set to soon be built. The gathering, which commemorated the start of the construction phase of the project, was attended by dozens of community members, including city leaders and staffers, CHC employees, and representatives of agencies involved in the financing or construction of the $15.4 million project.
The ceremony concluded with several of those project leaders donning hard hats and using shovels to ceremoniously toss chunks of dirt and grass as attendees gave festive cheers despite standing in on-again, off-again rain drizzles.
“I’m so happy to see the groundbreaking,” Castle said, “but (I’ll) really be excited when we can actually have the open house and the dedication ceremony.”
The facility is scheduled to open in May 2020 and offer a wide range of on-site health services, including immediate care, primary care, pediatrics, women’s health, dental, behavioral health, chiropractic care and specialty services.
The Neenan Company, a design-build ﬁrm based in Fort Collins, Colorado, will serve as the architect and general contractor for the project.
The design, according to CHC, will accommodate 50 medical and dental exam rooms, as well as many environmentally-friendly features, including electric vehicle charging stations and a 30.8 kilowatt rooftop solar system that will be expected to provide about 30 percent of the building’s electrical usage.
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Several organizations were involved in financing the project, including United Healthcare and U.S. Bank, which worked together to provide about $9.1 million, as well as the nonprofit Opportunity Fund.
Catherine Farrell, a spokeswoman for United Healthcare, said the project falls in line with United Healthcare’s mission to “help people live healthier lives.”
“This project is so important because the Lompoc community will continue to have access to the health care services and resources that they need — both where they live and where they work,” she said. “For United Healthcare, we are just so proud to be a part of this project.”
That sentiment was echoed by Jeff Wells, the vice president of New Markets Tax Credit Investments for the Opportunity Fund.
“Everyone talks about the need for affordable health care, particularly for people of modest means,” Wells said. “By building this new facility, CHC is actually doing something about this critical issue by providing first-class quality health care to thousands of area residents.”
Lompoc Mayor Jenelle Osborne was joined at Friday’s ceremony by council members Gilda Cordova and Victor Vega.
Will Gordon, the president of CHC’s board of directors, said he was looking forward to having the new facility up and running.
“I can assure you that CHC will do all that's necessary to make this one of the finest facilities on the Central Coast,” he said.
Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.
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