More than 100 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony, which honored several longtime community health aides and their families. It also included Phyllis Eddy from Washington, D.C., who is Deputy Director to Indian Health Service Director Dr. Charles Grim, and Kathy Berzanske from Anchorage with the Denali Commission.
"This is a momentous occasion for Kake, a historical event," said Bean, who is a former SEARHC Board Chair and also serves on several state and national boards dealing with Native health. "This means a great deal to the improvement of health service to our patients in the community of Kake. I'm grateful to those who contributed to this building, which will be around for the next generation."
The expanded 7,300-square-foot clinic will be built in two phases. There will be a new 4,000-square-foot primary care wing that will house an emergency room, radiology, laboratory and pharmacy. Then there will be a renovation of the existing 3,300-square-foot clinic (built in 1985), which will house offices for administration, community family service workers, community wellness advocates and dental services. The expanded clinic will bring all of SEARHC's existing programs in Kake under one roof, and it will allow SEARHC to offer additional services.
The primary funding for the clinic comes 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 submitted a winning bid of $3.8 million to build the project, which is much less than the $5.3 million budgeted due to competitive bidding, said SEARHC Facilities Management Project Manager Matt Christner. The bid includes all construction, contingencies and equipment. The new clinic is expected to be completed by the spring of 2009.
"I know this project will provide much-needed jobs for local carpenters and subcontractors, it also will accommodate a growing population and economy," said current Kake Health Center Community Health Practitioner Bill Alsup, who serves on the Kake City Council and is a former vice mayor of Kake. "This project is lifting our spirits and helping our community see the beginning of a new age. (Former SEARHC VP of Operations) Art Willman was the visionary who saw what could be, and now we can help fulfill his vision by promoting healthy lifestyles and giving a higher quality of care to our community in a state-of-the-art facility. A big thank you to SEARHC,IHS and the Denali Commission for being the light at the end of the tunnel for Kake."