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VOL. 129 | NO. 157 | Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Memphis Health Center Marks Expansion

By Bill Dries

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When the Memphis Health Center Inc. moved out of two trailers in 1975 into a stucco building on E.H. Crump Boulevard, the center was just beginning and the building was a modest start that signified a continuing need for the medical services it offered.

This fall and winter the building will be gutted and completely renovated as the next phase of a renovation and expansion of the center at 360 E. H. Crump Blvd.

The expansion of the Memphis Health Center Inc. on E.H. Crump Boulevard topped out Tuesday, Aug. 12, with a renovation of the original 1975 center building to follow in the fall and winter. The different phases of expansion and renovation are a $10 million investment in the 42-year-old institution.

(Daily News/Bill Dries)

Leaders of the nonprofit health center marked the topping out of the expansion Tuesday, Aug. 12, which will allow the center to serve more Memphians in an area that is historically underserved in terms of medical needs.

At the time of the center’s opening in 1972, the Crump-Fowler public housing development was on the other side of Crump Boulevard. Today, two open fields stand where the housing project once was and the retail district is a set of crumbling and boarded-up store fronts.

“We are a safety net for the community,” said Willeen W. Hastings, chief executive officer of the center at Tuesday’s topping out.

The renovation and expansion is a $10 million undertaking and the center is still raising money for all aspects of it. Of that total, $4.7 million is federal funding from the Affordable Care Act.

The center operates a pediatric and adolescent care center in the Soulsville Towne Center and a health center in the Rossville community.

Lois Stockton, chairman of the center’s board, praised Hastings for improving the center’s financial stability, which set the stage for the renovation and expansion.

Hastings has been CEO since late 2009 and took the job at a time when Stockton said the center had about two weeks’ worth of payroll in the bank.

“She built it from nothing and I mean nothing,” Stockton said to the local leaders at Tuesday’s ceremony.

The center’s chief medical officer, Dr. Barry-Lewis Harris, said the new layout for the original building will allow for a better flow of patients as well as more health care providers.

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