Open Cities Health Center, a non-profit community health center, purchased an additional St. Paul space to expand their operation in the Twin Cities. With the help of Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates (KOMA) and Reiling Construction, the facility has completed phase one of a two phase renovation process.
Open Cities began in 1967 with a mission to provide affordable health related services to people throughout the Twin Cities. The organization is federally qualified which also allows the clinic to see low-income, uninsured and under-insured individuals. With one location in St. Paul at the North End Health Center, the clinic hoped to expand within the area and purchased a second and notably larger building at 916 Rice Street. The building was originally two separate buildings that were forged together – causing uneven and staggered floors. Reiling construction came in and removed interior partitions and worked with a structural team to reinforce the building. Shortly thereafter KOMA joined the project to provide architectural services.
The project was split into three phases. Phase one involved the first floor, which consists of general exam rooms, a location for an upcoming x-ray room, and a reception and waiting room area. Currently open, this allows for general health practices to take place within the space and will help fund the following phases.
Phase two, which is set to start this fall, will incorporate offices in the lower level as well as a renovation of the second floor. This floor will have a dental practice, optometry, a retail space for optical allowing people to purchase eyeglasses, and behavioral health. Phase two also includes plans for a community room on the lower level as well as MNSure offices where people can get assistance for insurance. “Not only do the wide array of health services make Open Cities a unique project but it is also a place that offers education, connection to the community, and even employment when it can,” says principal architect Marc DuBois, “It is such a great addition to the community and was a really distinctive project to be a part of.”