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Published December 10, 2009, 12:00 AM

Family HealthCare Center to expand in new downtown Fargo location

A $6.6 million federal grant will enable the Family HealthCare Center in Fargo to almost double its space and expand services at a new location in the former Richtman’s Printing building.

By: Patrick Springer, INFORUM

A $6.6 million federal grant will enable the Family HealthCare Center in Fargo to almost double its space and expand services at a new location in the former Richtman’s Printing building.

President Barack Obama announced the grant, part of the federal stimulus program, on Wednesday.

The center provides primary and preventive care in Cass and Clay counties for 12,000 patients, many of whom are uninsured or underinsured. The center’s current site at 306 4th St. N. opened in 1994.

The expanded center, which officials hope will open at 301 NP Ave. in July 2011, will have increased staffing capable of serving 17,000 patients, said Patricia Patron, the center’s executive director.

“I think this is the most significant step toward expanding and improving health care for uninsured and underinsured and modest-income people in Fargo,” said Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D.

“This will improve the health care safety net for North Dakota,” he said.

Patron, the center’s executive director, said increased funding will add 18 staff members, including dental and medical providers as well as support staff. The center now has 80 full-time employees.

Also, the new center will have more medical examination rooms, and will be able to house the central clinic, administrative offices and homeless clinic under one roof, increasing efficiency, she said.

A dental clinic in Moorhead will remain open. The new center also will have digital X-ray equipment and electronic medical records.

“I am just absolutely thrilled,” said Patron, who attended the announcement ceremony with members of the North Dakota congressional delegation, which pushed for the project.

Mary Wakefield, a North Dakota native who heads the agency that is awarding the grants, said the Fargo project was one of more than 600 applications.

“The Family HealthCare Center of Fargo made a compelling case,” Wakefield said, adding that only one of every 85 applications was chosen. “There’s no shortage of need.”

The historic Richtman’s Printing building is eligible for tax credits that also could help finance the project, which has a total price tag of $10 million, Patron said.

The building, constructed in 1920 as the Pence Automobile Co. warehouse, was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. It is owned by Fargo’s Kilbourne Group, a team of developers headed by Doug Burgum.

The Kilbourne Group’s Web site describes the building as one of two architecturally significant commercial buildings on NP Avenue.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522

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