Clark State, Mercy Health begin construction on Springfield medical clinic

Clark State Community College and Mercy Health announced they have begun construction on a new health clinic on the south side of Springfield.

The 1,750 square-foot facility, located at Clark State’s Leffel Lane campus, will be available to students, employees of the school and the community as a whole, Clark State President Jo Alice Blondin said.

“Health care is a workforce issue and Clark State wanted to find ways to leverage our space and our vision for helping the community in partnership with Mercy Health to establish a clinic which is accessible to about half the population of Springfield,” she said.

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Clark State serves more than 6,000 students, many who live in Clark and Champaign counties, and the school has an economic impact of $161 million for Champaign, Clark, Logan and Greene counties, according to school data. The college directly supports about 1,500 jobs in the area and indirectly supports about another 425 full-time jobs, according to the data.

The health clinic fills a need in the community, Blondin said, but it will also give students an opportunity to get the real-world experience right on campus.

The new health clinic will be located in the Applied Science Center and will serve as the primary medical care facility for Clark State students, faculty, staff and the community at large. It will also likely be used for student clinical experiences and internships.

The community college’s board of trustees voted to approve a contract between the two last week. A ribbon cutting is expected to take place Wednesday. The health clinic is expected to begin accepting patients in May.

Clark State Trustee Sharon Evans said the health clinic is an example of how the school is growing and making a larger impact on Clark County.

“This is a big win for the community,” she said. “How this is marketed moving forward, I think is going to be incredible and once the community finds out they have more opportunities for health care in that area they will be excited. It’s a matter of growing Clark State across the community.”

Evans said it’s also nice that students will be able to access health care on campus.

Larry Wakefield, vice president for business affairs for Clark State, said the college was looking for a strategic partner to invest in the development and operation of a health care facility.

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“We were interested in a partner who would engage our students and faculty in a positive learning experience, as well as enhance our services,” he said.

Mercy Health will own and operate the clinic, which will initially be staffed with an on-site nurse practitioner. The nurse practitioner will provide services pursuant to a collaboration agreement with a Mercy Health collaborating physician. Mercy Health anticipates the clinic’s growth will necessitate the recruitment of additional physicians and services.

The clinic will also be in line with Mercy’s mission, said Matt Caldwell, CEO of Mercy Health-Springfield in a statement.

“A key part of our mission is to provide care to the under-served,” Caldwell said. “The location of this clinic ensures that students, faculty, staff and residents of the south side of Springfield will have access to important primary care services where previously there were none.”

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