Cloverdale’s planned $40 million community health center is ‘a long time coming’
For years, residents of Cloverdale and surrounding rural communities have watched nearly every other city and town in Sonoma County receive brand new state-of-the-art health care facilities.
The latest being Guerneville, which saw the grand opening of West County Health Centers’ $15 million Russian River Health Center last summer. It was the latest in a decades-long construction boom of federally supported community clinics that has played a key role in providing primary medical, dental and mental health services across the region.
Except in north Sonoma County.
For years, Alexander Valley Healthcare — an undisputed oasis in a medical desert that has continually plagued northern reaches of the county — has had to make due with aging, cramped facilities at three different downtown Cloverdale sites.
That has led to longer wait times for those seeking medical care, as well as unnecessary visits to local emergency rooms to the north and south, said Kirsten Tellez, Alexander Valley Healthcare’s development director.
Now, after nearly a decade of planning, Cloverdale is on the verge of undergoing its own major facilities expansion, one that could significantly transform the health care landscape north of Healdsburg.
With the recent $1.5 million purchase of a 2.8-acre site at S. Cloverdale Boulelvard and Citrus Fair Drive, Alexander Valley Healthcare is moving forward with plans to build a three-story, roughly 40,000-square-foot medical facility that will cost an estimated $40 million to build and equip.
“There’s nobody who doesn’t see the need for this in our region,” Tellez said.
Debbie Howell, Alexander Valley Healthcare’s CEO, said current leased space is bursting at the seams and wholly inadequate for serving the provider’s 5,000 patients. Many of these patients come from the health center’s service area, which includes Cloverdale, Geyserville and Hopland.
But Howell said the new facility is likely to draw more patients from places like Lower Lake, Lucerne, the southern portion of Mendocino County and even central Sonoma County.
Once the facility is being operated at maximum capacity, “we will be able to serve 16,000 patients,” Howell said.
A county satellite
Alexander Valley Healthcare currently occupies three leased buildings. These include a dental clinic at Third Street and N. Cloverdale Boulevard; the main medical clinic at Tarman Drive, off S. Cloverdale Boulevard; and administrative offices on E. First Street and N. Cloverdale Boulevard.
“That’s why this is so exciting, to be able to put us all under one roof and integrate services,” said Tellez.
The new building, located next to the Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds, will be LEED certified for energy efficiency and designed with a focus on “health and wellness, with plenty of natural light and open spaces,” Tellez said.
The administration and dental offices will occupy the top floor, while medical and behavioral health services will be offered on the second floor. The first floor will house new services not currently offered, such as an expanded lab, urgent care and a pharmacy.