OCEANSIDE — Gold shovels dug in to break ground for North County Health Services’ new Mission Mesa Pediatrics Health Center on Dec. 13.
The current pediatrics facility at 2210 Mesa Drive is small and outdated. Staff work around space limitations to provide services to a steady stream of young patients, using converted closet spaces as exam rooms and an exam room as a procedure room.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Dr. Chanelle Calhoun, said. “We’re just busting out at the seams.”
The new building will quadruple the size of the current facility, taking it from 3,024 square feet to 12,639 square feet, and increasing service from six exam rooms to 18 rooms.
The new facility will also include a procedure room, two health education rooms, a lactation consultation room, a financial consultation room and a group visit room.
The extra space will allow twice as many children to be served.
“There’s a huge need for quality affordable community healthcare in Oceanside,” Stacy Rungaitis, director of fund development, said.
“The projection is 90 percent growth in four years,” Rungaitis added. “Expansion is critical because of the need. We’re making due at the current facility.”
The groundbreaking ceremony also kicked off the capital campaign to raise $2.71 million to complete construction.
“I don’t think there’s any better investment than the children,” said Ellen Stotmeister, co-chair with her husband Kevin Stotmeister of the Mission Mesa Pediatrics Health Center capital campaign.
The total cost of the new building is $7.71 million. North County Health Services has already received a $5 million Health Resources and Services Administration federal grant.
“We’re well on our way to making it all happen,” Rungaitis said.
“To be there when we’re needed is so crucial,” Rungaitis added. “When kids are healthy the whole community is healthy.”
“Patients deserve an attractive healthcare center to come to.”
The new facility will be built within the Mission Mesa health center complex that houses the current pediatric building, women’s health services and WIC services. During construction all Mission Mesa health center services will remain open.
“We will be open during construction,” Rungaitis said. “The current pediatrics facility is not being touched.”
The new pediatrics facility is expected to open in spring 2015.
Future plans are to improve the facades of all buildings in the complex to create a cohesive look.
The Mission Mesa health center is located within a residential community and along a public transportation route. Most patients walk to the clinic or take the bus.
“It’s really is a neighborhood health center,” Rungaitis said.
The health center serves many families who are uninsured or on Medi-Cal. A flat $40 fee takes care of a clinic visit, medical tests and procedures, except for immunizations.
North County Health Services has three neighborhood clinics in Oceanside and seven more clinics in Encinitas, Carlsbad, San Marcos and Ramona.