Right now, next to the Lisbon Avenue Community Health Center at 3522 W. Lisbon Ave., sits a huge, empty, fenced-off hole in the ground.
Next year at this time, you can expect to see a brand new, three-story, 42,000-square-foot medical center in its place.
The new center, like the original facility, will serve Medicaid and uninsured patients from across the city who need health care.
The federally qualified health center, operated by Progressive Community Health Centers, is partially funded by the federal government. Progressive also runs Hillside Community Health Center, at 1452 N. 7th St.
While federal funding has stayed the same since 2000, the patient population has grown by nearly 50 percent, according to Progressive spokesperson Sarah Bailey.
Bailey said that a new building “was always on the horizon,” because the existing facility just isn’t big enough.
The price tag for the construction is $10.5 million. A federal grant under the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) will pay for part of the cost.
Other funds come from area foundations and partnerships, including Froedtert Health.
Part of the campaign includes the upcoming Milwaukee Gospel Jubilee, an evening of music that features five area gospel groups. The concert will be at the Pabst Theatre on Feb. 21, at 8 p.m.
“Given the area we serve and our demographic—75 percent of our patients are African Americans—this gospel theme just took hold,” said Bailey.
The tickets sell for $25 apiece and all of the proceeds benefit the clinic, “which is great,” she added.
Bailey said that the benefit also will help get the word out about the services the clinic offers. “Many people don’t even know that the community health center exists,” she said, “and that there are places that help people who don’t have health insurance.”
The new center will expand to include mental health and radiology services. The center currently offers family and internal medicine, obstetrical and gynecological services, women’s health services and dental care.
The clinic is accepting new patients for all services but dental care.
That’s expected to change when the new building opens and the clinic has the space to hire additional dentists needed to help with the backlog.