The operator of a federally funded community health center in Kalihi Valley is holding a ceremony today to mark the start of work on a new 16,500-square-foot health and wellness center.
Kokua Kalihi Valley’s main clinic, the Charles Judd Community Health Center, is across the street at 2239 N. School St.
The agency said it decided to set up the new clinic to accommodate growing numbers of patients and alleviate overcrowding at its current facility. The agency employs about 150 people and plans to hire a few more employees for the new clinic.
"Our main clinic already is too small for the large number of staff," said Cynthia Sturdevant, Kokua Kalihi Valley’s chief operations officer.
The project is being funded by the following entities:
» Economic Development Administration: $3.15M
» Health Resources & Services Administration: $1.5M
» Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation: $1.5M.
» Community development block grants: $850,000
» Grant-in-aid: $840,000
» Private funders (McInerny Foundation, Hawaii Dental Service, Atherton Family Foundation, Hawaii Primary Care Association, Bank of Hawaii Charitable Foundation): $321,500
The new clinic will double dental service capacity at the center and make it possible to expand its general dentistry education and new pediatric specialty residency programs.
The renovated facility will have a dozen areas for dental surgery. The six dental surgery areas at the main clinic will be converted into medical exam rooms.
The second floor of the new facility will be used for dental and administrative offices, while Mina Pharmacy will move into the first floor.
The project will add a computer and job training classroom and a large commercial kitchen, where the organization will host food demonstrations, nutrition classes and economic development programs.
The center also will offer ophthalmology services and have space designated for micro-enterprise activities such as a women’s sewing project, Sturdevant said.
"Most importantly, we would like to hire a few people to help create a place for neighbors to gather, talk stories, share food, celebrate cultures and build the community," Sturdevant said.
Kokua Kalihi Valley purchased the building in 1997. It was built in 1954.
It had used it for offices and storage until last year.
The project will fix major roof leaks, extensive termite damage, deteriorating plumbing and outdated electrical systems, as well as improve the site and parking area.
The nonprofit Kokua Kalihi Valley was established in 1972 to promote healing and reconciliation in the community. It has eight locations in Kalihi Valley, with services that include medical, dental, behavioral health, maternal and child health, counseling and preventive health, elderly and youth activities, transportation and interpretive services, and child-care and literacy activities.
The agency also is the caretaker of about 100 acres of land in the back of the valley, where it is restoring Hawaiian agricultural sites and creating community gardens.