by Derrick Vander Waal
|A section of wall is cut out to open a doorway
into the expansion area at Promise Community
Health Center. About 3,000 square feet is being
built out in unused space on the east side of the
health center’s downtown Sioux Center building.
SIOUX CENTER – Sawing, drilling, hammering.
They may sound like noises, but they are the harmony of progress.
The muffled sounds have been vibrating through the walls at Promise Community Health Center for the last several weeks as Schelling Construction of Sioux Center has progressed on Promise’s major renovation and expansion project.
The project was made possible through a $250,000 federal capital improvement grant awarded in August to the health center by the Health Resources and Services Administration.
Promise is expanding into about 3,000 square feet of unused space on the east side of its downtown Sioux Center building – increasing the size of its facilities by about 60 percent. The front lobby and reception areas, along with other existing spaces in the medical and prenatal areas, also will be remodeled.
“This is a capital improvement project to enhance our services and make the community health center a patient-centered home for the folks we serve,” said Nancy Dykstra, executive director of Promise. “When we wrote that grant application, we wrote it with that in mind.”
The first phase of the project is the expansion build-out. The new area will include a community education room, offices, a staff lounge, a work pod for prenatal staff, a second prenatal exam room, and a backdoor entrance for staff.
|Schelling Construction workers
create a doorway into Promise’s
Dykstra said the education room will be a big addition because it will facilitate various staff training and community education classes. Currently, such classes have to be arranged at the Sioux Center Public Library, churches or other places in the community.
“Anytime we can do a better job of education for the people we’re serving about how they need to care for themselves, then we’re doing better care. We haven’t been able to have much patient education as part of our health-care services before, so that’s really a big part of this,” she said, noting as an example that prenatal classes in Spanish and English can be offered for the first time. “That’s so exciting to finally get that off the ground.”
She also noted that staff members are cramped in the existing spaces. She thinks more room for them will indirectly benefit patients.
“When you help your staff serve in a better environment, the patients also are served better,” Dykstra said. “If our staff are working more effectively, then our patients can be served more effectively.”
Some staff members are expected to move into the new area in May as the project will transition into the renovation phase.
The most visible remodeling changes for patients will be in the front lobby area. Four modular stations – similar to bank teller stations – will be on the right side. Patients will be able to walk up to the counter and speak directly to receptionists at eye-to-eye level for checking in and checking out. On the left side, patients will be able to sit at two modular stations to talk directly to community care coordinators about enrollment, insurance and other paperwork.
“The changes in the front will make patients feel more welcomed and served in a more patient-friendly manner,” Dykstra said. “We will be able to be more private in our exchange of information.”
Other renovations include converting the break room into a second medical pod work area and remodeling offices to make room for personnel who have been providing Promise’s new behavioral health services. The current medical pod station also will be remodeled to make it more functional for the providers and their support staff.
“The service providers get nice work areas, and we will give our medical and dental director their own office – which will be nice,” Dykstra said.
She said the project is on schedule and should be completed by mid-summer.
It is the second major expansion project that Promise has undertaken since opening in 2008. The dental wing was finished in December 2010.
“We appreciate the patience of our visitors and patients during this project,” Dykstra said. “We believe the improvements we are making to Promise enhance our services and ensure that we continue to provide quality primary health care.”
Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. To learn more, visit www.promisechc.org.