If you’ve driven by the Porter Town Office over the past few days, you will notice that demolition has begun at 66 Main Street. Sacopee Valley Health Center recently purchased this property with the goal to expand the Health Center. And no, it is not going to be a parking lot.
The mission of the Health Center, which is a locally operated non-profit, is to provide the best care to all, regardless of the ability to pay. Over the years, they have added services for their patients which include, walk-in care, women’s health, x-rays, lab work, optometry, dental care, mental health, and more. Many patients have said that cutting down on the need to travel almost an hour for these services has made it easier and more convenient to keep appointments and follow through on important health care issues.
Why do they need more space?
Currently, the Health Center serves over 6,000 patients from our communities, and their workspace is a bit tight. Exam rooms are small and are not adequate for patients, most of the staff share offices with 2 or more individuals, and providers and medical assistants are separated at times, making it difficult to communicate and treat patients.
“We actually outgrew this space years ago, and have been working with the (our) community, staff and the Board of Directors to expand. This expansion is going to allow the Health Center to provide adequate clinical space for our patients and providers in order for us to provide a higher level of care and more importantly keep all our services under one roof.” Lynn Kearny, SVHC Executive Director
The expansion will include 16 additional exam rooms, a new easier to access entrance, lobby and walk-in relocation, and more space for the staff. The goal is to have the house on 66 Main to be taken down this weekend and to have the new addition started ASAP.
When the word got out about plans for expansion, there were of course rumors and questions, and worries that perhaps it would change the look of the village or have a negative effect on the neighbors. The Health Center worked closely with neighbors, and the Town’s Planning Board to be sure that the new addition would not have a negative effect on the quaintness and look of the village. They listened to the resident’s concerns, as well as the Towns requirements, and had their architects make changes to their designs accordingly. The Director even went as far as to ask the neighbors what sort of fencing they would like the existing fence to be replaced with.
Salvageable materials from the house are being repurposed, including the roof which was large enough to be donated to two local households in need - one home of a senior couple, and the other a home of a disabled person on dialysis. One of the contractors hired for the take-down project, Brad Sanborn, is donating his time to install the repurposed roof. Another local resident was able to salvage many of the old boards, window frames, and even a spiral staircase to restore other historical buildings in Porter Village, one dating back to the 1700s. The newer style windows were collected to rehab a home in need in Baldwin. In a serious effort to see nothing go to waste, folks were even able to take plants from the gardens.