Patricia Lewis, chief executive officer of the Rapides Primary Health Care Center, explains the design of the Women's Pavilion to be constructed.
By Sherri L. Jackson
Construction on the Rapides Primary Health Care Center’s new Women’s Pavilion is set to begin on July 5.
For Patricia Lewis, the Center’s chief executive officer, board members and patients, that fact earmarks the beginning of the Center’s next phase of offering expanded medical services to the uninsured and underinsured population of Central Louisiana.
The first step toward that end was held Tuesday, June 29, as supporters gathered for the official groundbreaking ceremony.
“This has been a dream for several years, and it has finally come into being,” Lewis said of the new building that will house women services.
Those attending the ceremony included Victor Kirk, the Center’s former director; Mayor Jacques Roy; Charles F. Smith, former District 3 City Councilman; Israel B. Curtis, former District 26 representative in the state House of Representatives; Rhonda Litt, executive director of the Louisiana Primary Care Association; and Oliver Overton of the Rapides Parish Police Jury.
The 8,329 square-feet Women’s Pavilion will offer health-care services to women. It will be built behind the existing facility located at 1217 Willow Glen River Road in Alexandria. The Administration Department, which is currently housed in the Health Care Center, will relocate to the Women’s Pavilion, allowing for the expansion of medical and dental services currently offered.
The total cost of the project is $1.3 million, Lewis said. The Center received $738,000 from a $41 million state grant that was distributed through the Louisiana Primary Care Association. Other funds came from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Lewis said the expansion will allow the Center to effectively work with patients who have chronic diseases and cancer.
“We’ve been doing these services all along, but we’ve reached our limit. The patient base has grown tremendously,” she said. “We’ve always had to refer women with chronic diseases. We can now bring OB/GYN. We wanted the services to be closer to the community.”
Meanwhile, Curtis, who was instrumental in bringing the Center to the community, said he was proud of the Center’s accomplishments and the fact that many of the board members have served since the Center’s inception.
“The pavilion has always been in the plans,” he said. “I’m grateful that the many of the original board members stuck it out with us.”
The Center’s board members include Willie Stewart, president; Varie Stallworth, vice president; Ben Bensley, treasurer; Beverly Brown, board member, Delores Perry, consumer representative; Margaret Wess, consumer representative; Erma Lyons, board member; the Rev. Stanley Mathis, board member; and Dr. Charles Norwood, medical advisor.
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