Construction Projects at HPCHC Nearing Completion


Front Entrance to Adult Health Center


July will be a busy month for High Plains Community Health Center, according to CEO, Eric Niemeyer. He provided a recap on the construction work underway at the campus for the Prowers County Commissioners during a visit on Tuesday, May 16th.

October Groundbreaking for Pediatric Clinic

The Adult Heath Center, closed since this past January because of structural problems to the foundation, should be opening later this summer. Niemeyer explained what had happened to the facility, “We noticed some cracks appearing on the inner walls and the door jambs were no longer fitting properly, so we contacted an engineer who conducted a study.  We found the problem was with support posts, pads and the caissons underneath the building.  The pads were cracking and the investigation found there was a void between pads.  There should be some space allowed for future soil movement, but that had not been done in several spots.”  Niemeyer said the soil had shifted since the building was built and created an upward pressure, cracking the pads which impacted the elevation of the floor by at least an inch.  “That was enough for a concern and the city determined we should close until the areas were corrected,” he stated.

The day to day operations were moved to the main clinic building while the site was first stabilized before any repairs could take place. “We wanted to halt any more damage,” he said.  That work included leveling the floor, creating additional pads and building in redundancy to keep the foundation stable.  The CEO said the second phase will include getting bids on the repairs by the end of the month, award the work to a contractor and by July, the Center will be ready to re-open.  “The construction will consist mostly of manual labor and not a lot in the way of materials,” he stated, adding, “We’ll receive a certificate from the engineer and have the city building inspector survey the work before we are ready to accept patients.”

The expansion project for the pediatric clinic is also making progress. Niemeyer said, “The full roof is on and all the sub-contractors are working parallel to each other with electrical installation as well as HVAC systems.”  Ground breaking ceremonies were held this past October at the site which will expand the pediatric clinic by 2,000 square feet. “Our employees and our patients have really been understanding with the changes we’ve had to live with while the work is underway.  We feel a little like sardines in a can with all our work taking place at the main clinic, but by July, we should be read to transfer our staff back to the new facility.”  He said Dr. Figlio will be joined by PA Susanna Storeng in pediatric work.

“She’s shown an interest in pediatrics and will be assisting him while keeping her non-pediatric patients. He said there isn’t any specific target date for the grand opening of the new clinic, but an open invitation to the community will be announced.  Niemeyer noted that Emily Neischburg, a registered dietician, has joined HPCHC and will act as a health coach in two main areas, diabetes, where she is certified and credentialed and as a health coach.  “She’s concentrating on nutrition, weight management and weight loss.  This addition strengthens our internal ability to work with those kinds of patients.  In this part of the state, one in every five persons has diabetes and that’s too high a statistic.”

Niemeyer told the commissioners, the clinic received a federal grant to be used for substance abuse issues in the community. “We’ve discussed this in a recent strategic planning retreat with the board and these funds will help serve more patients through our behavioral health staff.”

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarCountyFeaturedHealthPublic Safety


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