Work begins on health care center at school - East Valley Tribune: News

Work begins on health care center at school

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Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2009 2:37 pm | Updated: 12:31 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Eleven years after an idea began for a stand-alone community health care facility at a Chandler school, the shovels have hit the dirt. Construction began last month on the Chandler Care Center, a site that will offer medical, dental, vision and hearing exams by volunteer health care providers.

Eleven years after an idea began for a stand-alone community health care facility at a Chandler school, the shovels have hit the dirt.

Construction began last month on the Chandler Care Center, a site that will offer medical, dental, vision and hearing exams by volunteer health care providers.

Mesa school lends a hand to those in need

The 8,800-square-foot facility, being built on a piece of playground at Galveston Elementary School, will open in January. Along with the medical facilities, it will include space for adult language and GED classes that will double as a waiting room. A large food bank room is also planned.

The center started in 1996 as the San Marcos Resource Center in a set of rooms at San Marcos Elementary School a few miles away. There, community members can come in for school physicals, immunizations and flu shots. The center also provides food boxes from donations collected by churches, schools and community groups.

Last year, 20,000 people came to San Marcos for some type of assistance.

But at San Marcos, volunteers are limited by the size of the two classrooms available, and the need keeps growing, said Chandler Care Center director Susan Horan. The Chandler Unified School District governing board gave the final approval to get the new building going in July.

“Increasing numbers of people are losing insurance, so they’re using the children’s clinic for medical assistance,” Horan said. “Ever growing numbers of people are coming in for food.”

In her role, Horan has helped organize product, service and financial donations for the center. The construction project will cost around $2.5 million. About $1 million came from the Chandler district through bond funds. The city of Chandler gave $500,000 through a Community Development Block Grant.

Chandler Regional Medical Center, Chandler Service Club and Toyota Financial Services also gave large donations.

Even the payroll for the small staff is funded through grants.

A number of organizations are donating time to design and construct the facility. Through one donation, the building will have LEED ranking, which shows it is energy efficient, Horan said.

Some of the most complicated pieces of the new building are the dental rooms. Before pipes can be put down, there need to be detailed plans of where lines for oxygen, vacuums, nitrous oxide and water go.

David Rosas of Patterson Dental is volunteering his time to get everything right. He is an office design and equipment specialist.

“That’s only one aspect of my job, but I enjoy that part quite a bit,” Rosas said. “That was the real starting point of how I got involved. One thing led to another and it was OK, where do you put … all these technical things they were completely unaware of.”

Earlier this month, Rosas was at the construction site checking over the plans and the building. He is helping with the 1,200 square feet of the building that will hold dental chairs, a mechanical room, a lab and a sterilization room for the equipment.

“It’s exciting. It’s kind of neat to go out and work with them,” he said.

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