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Sonoma Valley Community Health Center to break ground on Friday

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Construction started a month ago, but this Friday, local leaders will gather for a groundbreaking ceremony in honor of the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center’s vastly expanded new home.

Located at 19270 Sonoma Highway, the new facility will nearly triple clinical space and will feature a family practice clinic, a dental clinic, obstetrics services, a community education center and more. The work is scheduled to be completed by this summer.

Organizers say the multimillion-dollar project is a milestone for the health center, Sonoma Valley’s main health care provider for low-income residents. The center now serves more than 7,000 locals each year, accommodating more than 30,000 patient visits, and those numbers are expected to rise in coming years.

The new facility should make administering to those patients easier to do, with 18,691 square feet of clinical space and 71 parking spots on a 1.36-acre lot. In addition, the new location – across from Maxwell Village Shopping Center – should be more convenient for Valley residents to get to.

Among the improvements, “The new Community Health Center will feature the first and only dental clinic to address the needs of low-income pediatric patients and expectant mothers in Sonoma Valley,” organizers said in a news release.

Fund-raising efforts started last summer, with a “multi-phased $5 million capital campaign” garnering the support of dozens of local donors. Thanks to these efforts, the health center closed escrow on its new home last October, and is now “securing philanthropic investments that will enable the health center to open the new facility during the summer of 2014, expand clinical services, strengthen its balance sheet and attract new physicians to the area,” organizers stated.

To help celebrate the upcoming improvements, health center CEO Cheryl Johnson will be joined by local leaders on Friday, Jan. 31, for a groundbreaking ceremony at the new location. Scheduled participants include Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, 1st District Supervisor Susan Gorin and members of the SVCHC board. The event begins at noon.

The Sonoma Valley Community Health Center is the largest provider of health care to Medi-Cal, uninsured and other low-income patients in Sonoma Valley. No patient is turned away, regardless of insurance level or ability to pay. For more information, visit svchc.org.