SILVER CITY — The Silver City Community Health Center, long under construction on Pope Street, held its ribbon-cutting and grand opening on Friday.
The event began with remarks from the Hidalgo Medical Services staff, politicians, and designers who made the Health Center possible.
"After a false start, all of us surviving the Mayan Apocalypse and hopefully getting through this fiscal cliff," said Hidalgo Medical Services Board Chairman Bill Rogers, "I'd like to welcome you to the Silver City Community Health Center."
Doomsday predictions and government concerns aside, it took a lot of work to get the Center off the ground.
One of the steps that finally got it moving was the town of Silver City partnering with HMS to secure land and get funding for the project. State Sen. Howie Morales, in attendance, also thanked Grant County, Santa Clara, Bayard and Hurley leadership for sacrificing projects and setting aside barriers to bring this to fruition.
"It really was a miracle of financing," said Charlie Alfero, founder and former CEO of Hidalgo Medical Services, and current executive director of the Center for Health Innovation.
The building has a signature look, with multicolored glass panes making up most of the exterior of the building's center. This isn't just for looks. The abundance of glass and natural light is designed to make the center more energy efficient. Other design features speak to the Center's goal to be focused on the patients' needs.
"We crunched the numbers," Olson said, "This building has the potential to serve as many patients as our whole organization did last year — that's 60,000 visits from around 16,000 patients."
The Silver City Medical Health Center will begin seeing patients on Feb. 4.
In addition to the healthcare goals, the Center's position closer to the heart of Silver City is an exciting prospect to those involved.
"People need to feel proud of their community," said Alfero. "When you're doing healthcare it should be the health of the community. So, if you put your healthcare downtown, it supports the health of the town and not just the individual."
Like many health clinics, the 30,000-square-foot Community Health Center features medical exam rooms. There are 22 of them, with two larger medical procedure rooms. They have standard amenities like X-Ray and bone density machines. These are important to their operation, but standard.
What is not standard is the inclusion of service wings, upstairs, for dental and mental health.
This integrated design echoes the "patient-centric" theme.
"Integrating health services makes it easier to get them," said Alfero. "If you put the mental health and general health in the same building where a patient can figure out their coverage, it only helps the patient more. Don't make them go to seven different places to meet their needs."
Also upstairs are three loft apartments.
These apartments were included for students and residents that rotate regularly through the area. This way, they won't have to look for short term housing and will be near their work.
Downstairs with the general medical area are a nutrition education kitchen and a 1,315 square foot conference room which will be available for local organizations to use.
The apartments and conference rooms won't be available for a few months so the Center can get used to normal operating procedures.
Benjamin Fisher can be reached at (575) 538-5893 ext. 5803.