Community member Justin Fulwilder stands up and voices his concerns about the new Health Clinic during the Design Advisory Committee meeting held at Two Waters Building B on Tuesday, June 28.
Community Members Speak Out About New Health Clinic
By Sheila Begay
Au-Authm Action News

On Tuesday, June 28, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Engineering Construction Services (ECS) Department, in conjunction with SmithGroupJJR, an architecture and engineering firm, held its first Design Advisory Committee meeting at Two Waters Building B. More than 20 Community members exchanged their ideas and recommendations for the new SRPMIC Health Clinic with SmithGroupJJR and ECS staff.

The new SRPMIC Health Clinic will be approximately a 90,000-square-foot Indian Health Service satellite clinic located northeast of the new Justice Center at the corner of Longmore and Osborn roads. This new health clinic is deemed to be “a place for healing and wellness.”

“We’re just starting out on the design process; we actually have not yet reached the point where we’ve started to draw,” said Anne Bilsbarrow, simulation specialist, at SmithGroupJJR. “We’re where we call the ‘programming’ stage, still trying to figure out what’s in the building. This process started a while ago with a different firm coming forth that did a lot of demographic studies, market analysis [and] volume projections to figure out exactly what kinds of services were needed.”

Bilsbarrow added, “Part of what they worked into [this] was the vision statement of the building. I think even in the most basic vision statement, it talks a lot about tradition [and] Community, about making this specific to this Community and not [building just] a generic health center. We also talked a lot about making this place more than just a place that you go when you’re sick. It’s a place that talks about teaching you to live in a healthy way, teaching you to take care of yourself, creating a place where you want to go instead of a place you have to go when you’re feeling bad.”

In a PowerPoint presentation, SmithGroupJJR, with clarification from ECS staff, presented basic information to those in attendance. This included project goals, critical success factors, the design and construction process (steps), the program scope, the planning process and more. Most important, Community members were able to ask questions and provide their input on the plans for the new health clinic.

The project goals include:

  • A “healthy lifestyle resource/support/ learning center”
  • A one-stop shop for Community members needing health services
  • A place where staff can better coordinate care
  • Well planned to allow for growth/change/flexibility
  • Warm and welcoming, easily accessible, family oriented
  • Serviceable, meaning that when one part “breaks,” the rest of the clinic can continue to function
  • Client/family centered with integrated care
  • A state-of-the-art facility that reflects Community cultures and traditions

“We have a pretty good sense of the spaces the departments will need to be able to do their jobs. We also have a good sense of how the spaces need to relate to each other, what spaces need to be close to each other. We have a pretty good sense of the workflow, what people will be doing in the building, how people will be involved. We’ve learned a lot,” said Bilsbarrow.

ECS and SmithGroupJJR will conduct two rounds of department interviews; this consists of 13-plus interviews in each round. Thus far, they have learned that the incorporation of cultural values into the new clinic is necessary, as well as the importance of outdoor spaces, an accent on wellness, living respectfully in the desert, and the desire for natural light.

“What we’re hoping to move forward with is that we will get many of the same people to plug back into the process and interpret the comments we’re getting from the Community and [make sure] that we’re staying on [track with] what the Community’s going to want in the facility—so by the time we meet the end of the diagram in the concept design phase, we’re essentially on the same page. We worked together to get there,” said Lyle Steely, architect.

Community members and staff were able to elaborate and engage in conversation after the PowerPoint presentation.

Topics, questions and ideas that were brought up included:

Q. Will there be a drive-through pharmacy?

A. No. This has been a topic of discussion, but having a drive-through pharmacy will eliminate the important patient-to-staff contact.

Q. Will there be space for Community use?

A. Yes, there is a big accent on providing Community space where you can have meetings, group meetings, Community meetings for support groups and so forth.

Q. What is the time frame from the conception to the end product?

A. We’re still really early in the design phase, so we’re probably looking at the end of the year for construction drawings. By next year, we’ll have the actual construction plans and then go into construction next year (2017).

Q. Whom did you interview to get the information?

A. We interviewed all of the [SRPMIC] departments that would be working in this building.

Q. Is this laboratory going to include an actual laboratory that has the capability to run basic blood tests (BMP, CMP) onsite instead of sending them out?

A. We’re still working on that. I think where we end up is that some tests will be done here and some will have to be sent out.

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