JENKINSVILLE — Out with the old and in with the new. This past Friday, Eau Claire Cooperative Health Centers held a ground breaking ceremony for the new Lake Monticello Family Practice medical facility in Jenkinsville.
Not only was it a ground breaking event for the new building, but it was also ground breaking for the Jenkinsville community and Fairfield County. Located at 9017 S.C. 215, the new facility is scheduled to open in late Dec. or early Jan.
Construction of the building was made possible through a $420,000 grant from Health Resources and Services Administration, which is a division under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The SCANA corporation donated an additional $75,000 to complete the funding of a project that will cost $509,000.
Eau Claire Health Cooperative’s, Dr. Stuart Hamilton wrote the grant that would allow Lake Monticello to have the funds.
“We’re just tinkled pink that we didn’t have to go into debt to make this happen during these times and this economy,” he said.
Lake Monticello Family Practice came about through a merge with Richland Community Health Care, and will be a satellite practice of Eau Claire Health Cooperative. For the past six years Lynne Douglass has been working at the health center in Jenkinsville, and she will be the Nurse Practitioner when the new building opens.
The current health center (Richland Community Health Care) is a 1971 mobile home that sits on a piece of land donated by Martha Westbrook. Westbrook said she was happy to donate the land and be a piece of the puzzle that is now flourishing in the community.
“It is wonderful to see what has happened,” she said. “This side of the county needs this (health center) and Lynne (Douglass) has done a tremendous job and she has been the key. I’m excited she will be working in a brand new building.”
Westbrook wasn’t the only one excited about things to come. Jenkinsville’s Mayor Greg Ginyard said Hamilton has brought a vision to the community.
“I’m very excited about this and I feel like we’ve needed this for a long time,” he stated. “I’m really overjoyed and grateful to Dr. Hamilton for making this possible in our community, but it’s just not for the people in this community, it’s for all the residents in Fairfield County.”
Douglass said the health center lost its funding from Richland Community Health Care last year, and it was Dr. Hamilton that came in and rescued the health center by writing the grant and providing the opportunity for a new partnership.
“This is a dream come true,” she said. “The people of this community need this and I can’t really put it into words what this means to me today.”
The Lake Monticello Family Practice will not only be partnered with Eau Claire Health Cooperative, but also with McCrorey-Liston Elementary School. A Lake Monticello Family Practice nurse or doctor will visit the school two days per week to bring health care to the school and have a clinic on campus.
This partnership is not being done anywhere else in Fairfield County, and will make it more convenient for students, parents and teachers to access health care.
McCrorey-Liston Principal Chandra Bell believes the partnership is instrumental in bringing the opportunity to receive health care on site for students, parents and staff.
“We are going to meet their academic needs and their health needs,” she noted. “This goes right in line with our mission statement of being a CATCH school.”
State Rep. MaryGail Douglas has used the facility (Richland Community Health Care) since it transferred to Columbia, and is pleased to see the practice build a new building.
“I’m excited for this community,” she stated. “I can’t say enough about the kind of service this practice will provide. It is primary health care at its best.”