Mental, physical attention in 1 stop

Under one roof

Posted: Monday, April 03, 2006

The Cottonwood Health Center and Central Peninsula Counseling Services hope to merge into one building in Soldotna. Here’s the plan:

· The proposed building would be 31,000 square feet, with 14,000 square feet for the health center and 7,500 square feet for the counseling service and administrative offices.

· The cost is $11 million. Planners hope $5.5 million will come from the Denali Commission, $1 from the Rasmuson Foundation and $4.5 million in loans.

Two local needs-based health care providers expect plans to build a new facility in Soldotna to hatch this spring, according to a presentation at a Central Peninsula Health Centers meeting Tuesday.

“We hope to break ground in June,” said Jeanne Maltby, the project’s manager.

The project would draw the Cottonwood Health Center and Central Peninsula Counseling Services — health care providers serving the under- and uninsured — to one central location in Soldotna.

A new $11 million, 31,000-square-foot facility would be designed to jointly house the Cottonwood Health Center and Central Peninsula Counseling Services, as well as associated administrative offices at the corner of Marydale Avenue and Tyee Street.

The presentation of the building plans displayed illustrations of a simple, two-story, beige and green building flanked by a parking lot and trees.

“The focus was not on the fineries of architecture, but the quality of service being provided,” said Stan Steadman, executive director of CPHC.

The largest space in the building, 14,000 square feet, would be used to house the Cottonwood Health Center. The counseling clinic and administrative offices would occupy 7,500 square feet.

“It will be a lot more efficient for us,” said Ted Schiffman, executive director of Central Peninsula Counseling Services. “The opportunity to really customize a space to meet our needs is really a blessing for us.”

Schiffman said the counseling service currently operates out of two separate buildings, one of which was designed as a recreation center and does not meet the health care provider’s needs.

The plans for the new facility would not only bring all of the counseling service’s faculty and services under one roof, but also allow patients to have their counseling and physical health needs met in one location, he said.

Although the building has been designed and funding almost entirely secured, there is still a lot of legwork to be done, Maltby said.

“A lot of work is behind us, but a lot of work is still ahead of us,” she said.

She said the project has one last major hurdle to jump in May.

The Denali Commission is expected to fund 50 percent — $5.5 million — of the project, but the commission’s commitment has not yet been finalized. However, Maltby said the two health care providers are confident the commission will finalize a commitment at its meeting in May.

“If they don’t we’ll have to rethink the project,” she said. “(But) we’re confident that they will. The money’s been allocated, it just hasn’t been appropriated. ... The Denali Commission has been a big supporter of the project.”

The Denali Commission has already provided $700,000 toward the planning and design of the project, she said.

An additional $1 million was committed by the Rasmuson Foundation and loans were secured for the remaining $4.5 million, but the health care providers hope to raise more money and launch a campaign to gather additional community support.

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