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New ETSU community clinic under construction

Rex Barber • Feb 6, 2012 at 8:31 AM

Construction is steadily progressing on East Tennessee State University’s new multimillion dollar community clinic.

Ground was broken on the new ETSU College of Nursing Community Health Center in August. Construction got under way in September. Recently, the framework for the $4.4 million facility has gone up.

“They have made significant progress over the last three weeks,” said Bill Rasnick, ETSU associate vice president of facilities.

Merit Construction, from Nashville, won the bid to construct the building, which will replace the Downtown Clinic at 207 E. Myrtle Ave. The new building will have 21,000 square feet of clinic space and be located across from Johnson City Medical Center on North State of Franklin Road. The new building is more than twice the size of the old clinic.

The College of Nursing, which operates the clinic, has had an increase in patients seeking the health care offered at its clinic. The clinic has been in operation since the early 1990s. It was originally established to serve Johnson City’s homeless population. No one is turned away from the clinic due to inability to pay.

Over the years, the mission of the clinic has expanded to serve those with too little or no insurance.

Construction should be complete on the new clinic around the first of July, Rasnick said. The building should be utilized by the first of October.

“It appears we are on target to do that, to be in the building by then,” Rasnick said.

The new clinic will have 24 exam rooms and be built for eight medical providers. Three rooms also will be available for minor procedures. The new clinic will bring together many of the programs of study in ETSU’s health sciences, including physical therapy, radiography, nursing, dental hygiene, nutrition, audiology, sociology, psychology and pharmacy.

“Really, the concept here is multi-discipline,” Rasnick said. “So it’s pretty exciting and it really involves a number of the colleges and departments here in the university.”

A $6.8 million grant to build the clinic was provided by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. ETSU’s colleges of nursing and rehabilitative health sciences collaborated on the grant, which was awarded this past fall. The remainder of the grant, after construction costs, goes to purchase equipment and possibly enhance the building.

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