Story last updated at 8/19/2009 - 5:59 pm
KAKE - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) is hosting a grand opening ceremony starting at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 21, for the newly expanded and renovated SEARHC Kake Health Center.
"The Kake Health Center expansion and renovation was 10 years in the making," said Mark Gorman, SEARHC Vice President of Community Health Services. "Judging from the spectacular facility that has been delivered to the community, it was well worth the wait. To sit in the waiting room with its remarkable view speaks to the insight of the architects."
Ground was broken two years ago for the clinic expansion, which more than doubled the space of the existing facility to 7,300 square feet. The project featured two phases, with the first phase being the construction of a new 4,000-square-foot primary care wing to house the emergency room, radiology, laboratory and pharmacy. Once the new wing was finished, the existing 3,300-square-foot clinic (built in 1985) was renovated to house offices for administration, community family service workers, community wellness advocates and dental services.
The expansion and renovation allows SEARHC to bring all of its Kake services into the same building instead of having them scattered in three locations around town. The clinic now has more space, which means it can offer a greater variety of health services for Kake residents. The clinic also upgraded its computer technology, part of a consortium-wide systems transformation project that features a new electronic health record scheduled to launch in late 2009 or early 2010.
"It will mean a great deal for us. It's been a long time coming," said Roy Aceveda, IRA President for the Organized Village of Kake, the federally recognized tribal government in Kake that also serves as the health board for the City of Kake. "The new technology and new clinic will be a great help. We really need it. The new addition is really a blessing."
Aceveda said he liked the layout of the new clinic, such as how the waiting room was near the emergency room, which makes it convenient for family members when they have someone being treated for an emergency. He also said Kake now has an x-ray machine so patients don't have to fly into Sitka if they have a broken bone or two, and he said the dental suite was expanded.
The primary funding for the clinic expansion came from a $3.8 million grant from the Denali Commission and $2 million from the Indian Health Service's Small Ambulatory Program. McGraw Custom Construction of Sitka built the new primary care wing and renovated the existing clinic.