North End Community Health Centre moving
All programs will be at Major General Donald J. MacDonald building by Sept. 2017
The North End Community Health Centre announced Monday it plans to lease two floors of the Major General Donald J. MacDonald building on Gottingen Street and be fully operational by Sept. 1, 2017.
Currently, the north-end Halifax centre operates out of two buildings on Gottingen Street. It owns its primary care site at 2165 Gottingen Street and it leases a second site at 2103 Gottingen St. After the move, all services will be in one building.
"This is a win-win situation because it allows us to stay in the community, it's affordable and it's certainly going to allow us a lot of breathing room," said Dr. Rod Wilson, family physician and executive director of the health centre.
The new space will have 15,000 square feet. Wilson said that's 30 per cent more floor space.
The North End Community Health Centre has been a fixture on Gottingen Street since 1971 and has been in its current spot since the 1980s.
Wilson said when he started working there in 1997, there were 12 people providing care. Now in 2016, he said there are 30 part-time staff making use of the limited space.
"We're in desperate need of space," said Wilson.
More money for care
The space also needs a lot of repair work. In April, there was fear the roof would collapse if structural issues weren't addressed. Back then, Wilson said the roof was beyond patching.
Wilson said money the centre receives through funding and through the sale of the old building will be able to go back into improving care.
"We're going to better use the financial and funding resources to focus on care and not on trying to maintain bricks and mortar," he said. "It's a long-term solution that allows us to do what we want to do really well without being stuck with an old building."
No anticipated service disruptions
The centre has nearly 5,000 patients registered and about 24,000 patient encounters each year. Wilson said the centre will attempt to complete the move without disrupting services.
The lease at the Major General Donald J. MacDonald building is for 10 years with an option to renew for five years.
Wilson said the move will happen next year in three phases. He said the plan is to move from the space at 2165 Gottingen St. by April. The Mobile Outreach Street Health team would be based at the new space by July. The dental clinic would open by September.
Community input needed
The building at 2165 Gottingen St. has not been put on the market yet.
"We've had people inquiring for a while. We expect there will be interest in it. The board will be putting it on the market at the appropriate time," said Wilson.
Wilson said there will be four meetings over the next two weeks so the community can learn more about the move and give input on what they would like to see in the new space.