- Emily Williams Contributing Writer
Clark State Community College is seeking a private company to open a health care facility on its Leffel Lane campus. The facility would serve students and employees, as well as local businesses and Springfield residents.
The college does not have any funds to contribute to the project and is looking for a partner to both construct and operate the facility.
The project will involve renovating about 1,900 square feet on the first floor of the college’s Applied Science Center and outfitting the space as a medical facility. The college estimates the renovations will cost about $300,000, said interim vice president for business affairs, Larry Wakefield.
The college also hopes to find a partner that will provide learning opportunities to its students, like internships for students in nursing, medical technology, pharmaceutical technology and other medical programs.
“It would be ideal and very convenient for our students to have a chance to get some local, clinical experience there,” Wakefield said.
The school’s current health clinic — which would be replaced by the new facility — sits on the second floor of the Applied Science Center. The first floor space is larger and more accessible, Wakefield said.
Some of the first floor space was formerly used as a darkroom for photography students, but, since programs have switched to digital photography, that space has been unused.
This project, Wakefield said, is part of Clark State president Jo Alice Blondin’s goal to improve healthcare at the school and in Springfield, particularly the south side of the city.
“She wants the ‘community’ part of ‘community college’ to be more emphasized,” Wakefield said. “This is part of her vision to reach out to the community and serve neighbors that might not have been served in the past.”
In addition to primary care needs, the school anticipates local businesses may use the facility for pre-employment physicals and worker’s compensation-related services.
Clark State has formed a committee of faculty and staff who will review proposals, which will be evaluated based on the committee’s preset selection criteria.
In their proposals, bidders were asked to submit plans for staffing the facility and managing referrals, as well as a proposed timeline for the project.
On Monday, Dec. 18, Clark State hosted an optional site visit for interested bidders. Two potential bidders attended, Wakefield said, and he expects to see significant interest in the project.
The college wants all proposals submitted by Jan. 8, 2018 and hopes to begin construction during the spring semester and open the facility for the summer term, which begins May 29.