Golden Valley expansion clears hurdle
by James Leonard | Patterson Irrigator
Sep 09, 2009 | 603 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Golden Valley Health Center on C Street moved one step closer to a major expansion last month, when the Patterson Planning Commission unanimously approved its plan.

The 4,320-square-foot health center — which is part of a network of 25 sites in Stanislaus and Merced counties — would grow by more than 6,000 square feet, according to documents reviewed by the planning commission at its Aug. 27 meeting.

Once complete, the expanded facility will see its number of medical exam rooms grow from nine to 15 and dental exam rooms grow from three to six, according to Golden Valley CEO Mike Sullivan.

The extra space will be necessary as Patterson grows, Sullivan said, but the difference will be felt right away.

“I think there will be more patients served immediately,” Sullivan said. “We do think there’s unmet current need. But it’s going to grow over some time.”

Sullivan said he’s hopeful the $2 million expansion can be completed by the end of 2010. About $1.3 million for the project will come in the form of federal stimulus money for nonprofit community health centers, which means the plans must still receive some federal approvals before construction can begin.

Golden Valley received a total of $2.5 million in stimulus money, the rest of which will go toward two Modesto facilities and a school-based site in Riverbank.

The Patterson expansion will call for construction on a vacant lot directly south of the existing building, a parcel purchased by Golden Valley in 2007.

When the project is complete, the current entrance on C Street will be used for dental only, while a new entrance and waiting room for medical will be built at the southern end of the building. Parking spaces will increase from 24 to 52.

The Patterson center was based near migrant farmworker camps — and intended to serve those workers — when it was created in 1975.

“That population continues to be served, but we found out there was a greater need,” Sullivan said, adding that the center now handles patients with Medi-Cal and Medicaid and once served Kaiser patients. “We’ve really expanded to become a real community health center.”

Golden Valley has moved a couple of times since it started in Patterson, settling at 200 C St. in 1993. It uses a sliding pay scale to help accommodate low-income patients and those without insurance, but also provides care to the insured.

The center, which currently serves about 5,000 patients per year, could handle as many as 3,000 new patients with the proposed expansion, though it might be some time before the demand is that high.

Scott Penner, Golden Valley’s facilities director, said the company is banking on population growth despite the current state of the economy, which has all but eliminated new home construction in the area.

“We’re trying to build this out because we see Patterson as a growing community,” Penner said. “We’re trying to hedge our bets so that when the economy turns around, we can meet that need.”

• Contact James Leonard at 892-6187 or james@pattersonirrigator.com.
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