The Chandler City Council Thursday evening voted to pledge $500,000 toward tripling the size of a medical clinic for local needy, uninsured schoolchildren.
The Chandler CARE Center, operated by the Chandler Unified School District, enlists volunteer health care workers to provide medical, dental and immunization services for uninsured children from birth to 18 years of age from families with little or no income. The center also has parental education programs, social services and a food bank.
The center has outgrown its existing location at San Marcos Elementary School, 451 W. Frye Road, according to a report by Jennifer Morrison, city neighborhood resources director. The new, expanded facility will sit on the northeast corner of the Galveston Elementary School campus, 777 E. Galveston St.
In fiscal year 2008-09, about 1,100 uninsured children received medical services at the center, said Susan Horan, CARE Center coordinator, in a Jan. 6 letter to city officials.
"The new facility will provide the capacity to triple that number," Horan said.
The new site, a nearly 8,900-square-foot, one-story building, is expected to be open by mid-February, she said. The total project cost is about $2.5 million, with more than $1 million coming from CUSD, and the rest from private and corporate donors. Construction began in September.
"The Chandler CARE Center is moving from a very small space where we have been able to provide only one service at a time for the past 15 years," according to Horan.
The expansion would help reduce wait times for patients by allowing workers to provide several services simultaneously, she said.
Initially, Chandler officials had planned to use federal block grants for the new center, but city officials failed to meet all of the legal requirements associated with the expenditure of federal funds, such as the inclusion of an environmental assessment, according to Morrison's report. Morrison attributed the failure to high turnover among city staff.
The City Council's $500,000 allocation Thursday instead will come from the city's general fund operating budget, out of a pot set aside for neighborhood revitalization efforts in mature areas of Chandler. The federal block grant funds will be reallocated to other projects, according to Morrison.