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Community Health Center move to new facility slated for Feb. 12

| February 1, 2007 11:00 PM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

Lincoln County Community Health Center expects to open at its new $2.5 million location at 320 E. Second St. in Libby on Monday, Feb. 12.

The health center has also found an owner for its current building at 711 California Ave. Flathead Valley Chemical Dependency Clinic in Kalispell has purchased the building for relocating its Libby office.

"We're planning on moving next week," sad Maria Clemons, executive director for Lincoln County Community Health Center.

The office on California Avenue will be closed Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 8 and 9, for the move to the one-story clinic next to St. John's Rehabilitative Services and adjacent to St. John's Lutheran Hospital. The new clinic will be three times larger than the current facility.

The health center's dental office, currently in leased space at 204 E. Sixth St., also will move to the new building in late February, Clemons said.

The non-profit health center has provided services with fees based on income since December 2001. It's seen its patient list grow by 58 percent annually for the last three years. Growth is expected by another 30 percent annually during each of the next three to five years.

The center in 2006 expected to serve more than 3,200 residents in the county, or 16 percent of the population. They were expected to make 13,000 individual visits.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and Glacier Bank provided the health center with loans for its new 10,000-square-foot building. Construction began last spring.

The expansion will provide for three to four medical providers, two dentists and one-and-a-half hygienists.

The new building will increase the number of exam rooms from four to 10 and dental rooms from three to five. In addition, waiting room space will be expanded and a child's play area will be provided. Administrative space will be increased for medical records management, storage, and health center training and education.

Deanise Killingsworth, administrative assistant for Flathead Valley Chemical Dependency Clinic in Libby, said her agency chose the California Avenue building for a more central location. The clinic is currently in rented space at 101 Woodland Road next to Big Sky Power Equipment.

"This is pretty hidden," Killingsworth said.

The clinic will do some remodeling and hopes to be at its new location by early March. The clinic's five employees provide counseling to those dependent on alcohol and drugs. The agency also has offices in Eureka and Thompson Falls and serves Lincoln and Sanders counties.