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Grand Rapids' $30M Heart of the City Health Center wraps construction, opens to patients in October





Kent County's low-income residents will soon have a new state-of-the-art healthcare facility where they'll receive medical, dental, vision and mental health care from agencies that were previously scattered across Grand Rapids. The nearly $30M Heart of the City Health Center wraps up construction over the next two weeks and the center will open at full capacity on October 3.

The project, at the corner of Cherry St. SE and Sheldon Avenue S.E., brings Cherry Street Health Services, Touchstone Innovaré and Proaction Behavioral Health Alliance together under one roof, creating what proponents say is a new national model for integrated healthcare.

The two-story building provides 80,000 square feet for patient care, with a two-level underground parking ramp immediately below.

"On the second floor, we'll have a staff that consists of clinical social workers, mental health workers and medical staff all integrated in one area," says Chris Shea, director of Cherry Street Health Services. "On the first floor, we'll have separate areas for adult medical, children's medical, dental, vision, a pharmacy and outpatient mental health."

Shea expects the facility will have 310 employees once it's staffed fully.

Pioneer Construction's Project Manager Justin Bialik says the company expects to achieve LEED Silver certification.

"About 98 percent of our construction waste and debris have been recycled," Bialik says. "The exterior envelope is a well-designed system that integrates spray-on insulation, insulated metal panels, and manufactured stone. The roof insulation has minimal 5" with a reflective white PVC membrane over top. The envelope was designed and constructed to maximize energy savings throughout the life of the building."

The property had traces of arsenic and metal shavings from old buildings that had been demolished and buried on the site, Bialik says. He says that after clearing the debris, Pioneer had the groundwater tested and found it was contaminant free. Because the building sits two feet below the water table, Bialik says Pioneer diverted the ground water to flow underneath the foundation on its way to the Grand River.

Construction manager: Pioneer Construction
Architect: Design Plus

Source: Justin Bialik, Pioneer Construction; Chris Shea, Cherry Street Health Services
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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