Bethel family clinic breaks ground for new facility

The Bethel Family Clinic recently held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the construction of their new building. Board and staff members said that replacing the aging red building has been a long time in coming.

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Bethel Family Clinic board members break ground at the construction site in Bethel. (Photo courtesy of Jehona Kadriu)
Bethel Family Clinic board members break ground at the construction site in Bethel.
(Photo courtesy of Jehona Kadriu)

The Bethel Family Clinic board members gathered at the clinic on Tuesday to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new building. Executive Director LaTesia Guinn said this only recently became possible.

“This has been at least 10 years in the works,” Guinn said. “It’s been on our board’s strategic plan for many, many, years. Funding opportunities have just not come through until just recently. The current facility we’re in is 30 plus years old, so it’s definitely in need of expanding.”

Federal funding for the new facility was approved this May. The rest of the capital came from fundraisers.

The current building, which resembles either a silo or a red water tank, has six exam rooms, one behavioral health office, and employee offices on the first floor. The second floor is mainly used for administrative purposes, and the third floor is an apartment for a healthcare provider. Guinn said the building was originally built as a bed and breakfast by brothers Steven and Dwayne Constantino.

“The building was built by the Constantino brothers back in the 1980’s, I believe,” Guinn said. “It’s actually two Quonset huts: one on end, and one straight across. And the woodwork inside of it is holding up beautifully. They did a beautiful job building it. And it’s held up very, very, well [with] very little breakage.”

The new building will sit right next to the current building on the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Main Street in Bethel. Operations Director Kyle McGrath said that the new building will help expand and add to the services they offer to their patients.

“The new building will be nine exam rooms, which will mainly be our medical staffing there, or medical services,” McGrath said. “The current facility we are in, we are planning on turning that into more behavioral health as well as dental.”

Kyle said the new facility is expected to be completed and put to use by July 2018 at the earliest, or mid 2019 at the latest.

The Bethel Family Clinic is a federally qualified health center. It was established in 1981 and serves the medical and behavioral health needs of the Yukon-Kuskokwim area.

Charles Enoch is a reporter at KYUK in Bethel.

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