VOL. 114 | NO. 234 | Wednesday, December 6, 2000
Church Health Center celebrates expansion
Church Health Center opens expansion
By SUE PEASE
The Daily News
When entering the lobby at the Church Health Center expansion in Midtown, the pastel mural near the ceiling by a skylight is hard to miss.
At first glance, it appears more like light reflections than a painting, but a second look registers the reflections are actually three white crosses surrounded by light blue windowpanes.
The mural is located in the recently completed lobby of the clinics expansion project, an endeavor that doubles the space at the health center.
The painting is a design detail that reflects the team effort involved in the clinics addition, because it was created by one of the centers patients.
Randi Brown, a freelance artist who also teaches art, decided she wanted to give something back to the clinic.
"She decided that is what she wanted to do as a gift to us. We are finding so many of our patients turn around and give what they can to us, out of their heart," said Mary Gilleland a member of the clinics public relations department.
Construction began at this time last year when the building next door to the existing clinic, which was the Free the Children headquarters, became available.
"Obviously, with the number of uninsured in Memphis and the nation, there is always a need for what we do. We had so few exam rooms that doctors were sometimes having to work out of just two exam rooms and that is never good because they cant see as many patients that way," Betty Carson, clinic director, said.
Dentistry, optometry and pastoral counseling moved into the new building and the switch freed up space for five exam rooms at the older site.
The Church Health Center, founded at 1210 Peabody Ave. in September 1987, offers quality, affordable health care to the working poor who cannot afford insurance.
Executive Director G. Scott Morris, who is both a physician and an ordained Methodist minister, founded the center. Morris saw the need in the community and chose to fill it by following the biblical directive of caring for the sick and the poor.
It is not a free service. Patients pay on a sliding scale based on income, and office visits range from $15-$20.
"The poor dont want a hand-out," Gilleland said. "They just want something they can afford."
During first day of operation in 1987, doctors at the clinic saw about 30 patients. Today, they see about 30,000 people a year.
Those numbers are evidence of the need and underline the clinics necessity to add to their building, she said.
The clinic now encompasses 12,700 square feet more than doubling the previous 5,500-quare-foot space.
The new reception area, called the patient pavilion, is where the driveway was and it connects the clinic to its new building to the west.
Cost for the construction was about $750,000 and the support came primarily from individual donors, Carson said.
The clinic obtains no government subsidies and since 1987 has run completely on support from the community.
Inman Construction Corp. was general contractor on the project. JMGR was the architectural firm. The project took about 10 months to complete.
"There was significant contribution on the part of all the major people who worked on the project," Carson said.