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Clinic project gets last OK

Caroll Keller, left, owner of Dink's Construction in Harrisonburg, looks over the construction plans for the renovation project inside the future Shenandoah Free Clinic building on Valley Vista Drive in Woodstock on Tuesday with Free Clinic Executive Director Pam Murphy. Dink's Construction is one of at least 12 contractors bidding for the $2 million renovation project, which is projected to take a year to complete. Rich Cooley/Daily

By Alex Bridges

WOODSTOCK -- The Shenandoah County Free Clinic cleared another major hurdle toward moving into a larger home, thanks to the Board of Supervisors.

The Free Clinic needed another piece of paperwork for the project aimed at renovating Adonai Gardens, a former nursing center on Valley Vista Drive in Woodstock, for new office space. Clinic officials have indicated that continued growth caused it to outgrow its current home.

The board voted 6-0 to approve the required environmental review report. The document was one of several the board needed to approve for the project to move forward. Supervisors approved six documents in September as required by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The state agency reviewed the documents but advised the county the board needed to approve the report that essentially says the proposed project would not pose an impact on the environment.

"There's just so many steps in the process if you're working with a federal agency and a state agency," Pam Murphy, executive director of the clinic, said Tuesday. "That was another hurdle that we cleared."

Clinic officials plan to open the bids this week, at which point they will know how much the agency needs for the project. Officials hope to begin construction in 2013, Murphy said.

The agency offers clinical services to low-income under-insured residents. The space crunch has caused the clinic to turn away some people in need, according to Murphy. The added space in the former nursing center will allow the agency and its dental clinic to double its capacity and to increase staff.

"In our current facility some of our staff can't work on the same day because we do have a crowding issue, so they are sharing desks," Murphy said

The former nursing center already offers some of the needs for the clinic, such as handicapped accessibility. But as Murphy explained, the building needs repairs and renovations to accommodate the clinic needs. Air handling systems need upgrades and it will need more parking for staff and clients. The roof likely needs repairs or replacement. Moving into a larger facility will allow for more employees and volunteers to work, but this also means the clinic would need to buy more desks and other furnishings, according to Murphy.

The clinic has raised nearly half of the $2 million goal set for the project, Murphy said. Of the $1 million raised, approximately $300,000 came from private individual donations. The clinic also received $700,000 from a larger pool of funds awarded to Virginia through the federal Community Development Block Grant program. The clinic, the county and People Inc. worked together to secure the grant funds.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com


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