Plans for a holistic health care center in Gilbert are doubling in size as more and more doctors are expressing interest, according to the project's developer.
The Celebration Centre for Integrated Healing is the vision of Sherry Lund, wife of developer Bill Lund, who has developed 1,000 acres of land in Gilbert, including the Spectrum residential community and Mercy Gilbert Medical Center.
Her proposed center is planned adjacent to Mercy Gilbert Medical Center at Val Vista Drive and Loop 202's Santan Freeway, and would provide alternative care to complement traditional Western medicine at the hospital.
"It keeps getting better all the time," Lund said. "More and more people want to come."
The idea has helped the town envision its own economic goals, which include attracting medical facilities and manufacturers, with a focus on women's health care and holistic care.
Final plans for the center are expected to be filed with the town for approval in the next few months, with the facility built by late 2009. Originally, Lund had hoped to open much sooner.
Lund said the idea for the center came from her "strong passion for integrated medicine, and healing the whole body by properly diagnosing and not just medicating the symptoms." She said she has seen holistic medicine heal family members.
The center would provide a variety of treatment options, including massage and hydrotherapy, reiki and other natural medicines.
The center was originally proposed at about 40,000 square feet, but is now expected to be as large as 90,000 square feet.
The proposed facility has begun to attract more providers eager to join the center, Lund said.
This month, Lund was inducted into the Knights of Hospitaller, based on an ancient brotherhood of knights who provided medical care for the needy. Dr. Al Matrani, the order's hospitaller priory in Scottsdale, said the order wants to provide services to the community when the center opens, including health care for the needy and a ministry.
In recent years, more doctors are opening up to the concept of using herbs and alternative therapies, Lund said.
"My goal is to integrate," she said. "I find more and more doctors I talk to are saying, 'That's all we used to know - naturopathic and holistic. We got away from it.'"
Greg Tilque, director of economic planning in Gilbert, said the center is an important element in the town's goal of becoming a center for medical care. The town has currently hired the Morrison Institute for Public Policy to conduct a study on how successful Gilbert would be in using health care as its economic niche.
Tilque said the proposal of hosting conferences on holistic care at the center will also help draw attention to Gilbert.
Town Councilwoman Joan Krueger said she expects the center to be a "raving success."
"I think we have a great number of opportunities with the health care in Gilbert," she said.
And crediting Lund as one of the visionaries for the town's concept, she added, "It always takes one brave soul to change the direction, or be courageous enough to offer something off the mainstream. I think she's absolutely opening the door in that regard."