Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers announced expansion plans for its South Side clinic and organizational headquarters, which is being supported in part by a major gift from Froedtert Health. The opening of the space, which will include a new pharmacy and expanded mental health services, is planned for fall 2024.
The organization provides high-quality, patient-centered health care, health education and social services free from linguistic, cultural and economic barriers. It will expand its operations on South Cesar Chavez Drive, where a ceremonial groundbreaking was held Tuesday morning.
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“We are steadfast in our commitment to breaking down barriers to care by bringing quality medical and behavioral health care into communities most in need and addressing social determinants of health through community-based strategies,” Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers President and CEO Dr. Julie Schuller said. “This new clinic will allow us to expand access to care for thousands of individuals and families and better serve those we are already touching through increased provider capacity and enhanced space for supplemental and community services.”
The 21,000-square-foot, three-story clinic expansion is being constructed at the north end of the existing Chavez Drive clinic. It will offer primary medical care, a new pharmacy, integrated behavioral health services, supportive social services and community wellness classes.
During the ceremony, they announced that Froedtert Health will provide a $4.7 million gift to support the project. Froedtert Health has a long-standing relationship with the organization, having provided $3.7 million for the opening of Sixteenth Street’s National Avenue Clinic, which focuses mainly on mental health services.
“The support aligns with our commitment to make positive, sustained impact on the health of the diverse communities that we serve, including right here in the heart of Milwaukee,” said Dr. Mark Lodes, chief medical officer and vice president of population health and medical education at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin.
“We know that mental health and substance abuse continue to be significant factors and challenges within Milwaukee. The Chavez clinic’s expanded programs and services will increase access for thousands of individuals and families currently without health care. It will also better serve existing patients of the clinic,” he said.
Most of the second-floor expansion will house additional mental health services, including substance use disorder services, additional space and rooms for groups. The clinic will offer integrated mental health services, a care model offered by Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers’ providers.
More than $2 million of the $9 million project is coming from a State Healthcare Infrastructure Grant through the American Rescue Plan that was awarded to the organization by Gov. Tony Evers in March 2022. Congresswoman Gwen Moore was also instrumental in securing $1.25 million in funding to support the project.
Other funding sources include the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, which provided an additional $1 million.
In February 2022, Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers acquired an adjoining property on Cesar Chavez Drive for about $200,000. This building is being demolished to make space for the new facility, which will be connected to the existing clinic. Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers is also developing plans to address parking concerns for the clinic.
Wisconsin-based Groth Design Group is the architect and Berghammer Construction Corp. of Butler is the contractor for the clinic expansion project.
More than 45,000 people currently rely on Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers and the expanded clinic will accommodate an additional 32,000 visits annually for South Side residents who currently are without care.
“We at Milwaukee County have committed ourselves to achieving both race and health equity by finding ways to bring resources to our most vulnerable residents and making sure we invest those resources upstream, because we want to make sure we are preventing poor health outcomes before they even materialize in our community,” Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said during the ceremony.
“It’s been great to have a partner like Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers because they are working toward that same goal. Our journey together toward race and health equity depends not only on Sixteenth Street but on every single one of us locking arms to make sure that we can achieve this goal,” he said.
The Chavez Drive location will also offer group pregnancy classes as a holistic approach to prenatal care. The expansion will also allow Sixteenth Street to move its Lead Program and its Women, Infant and Children program to the Chavez clinic.
Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers operates seven clinics in Milwaukee and one in Waukesha. In addition, it has clinics in 23 schools, the newest of which is located inside South Division High School in Milwaukee.