Lake Superior Community Health Center breaks ground at new location in Superior

A groundbreaking event for the new location, the former Super One Foods building at 2222 E. Fifth St., is scheduled for Friday, July 16 at 2pm

On 25,000 square meters, the new facility offers space for the federally qualified health center to expand all of its programs General practitioner, dentistry, advice and add chiropractic in superior. It will also bring all of the superior care under one roof. The center currently operates an 18,000-square-foot facility at 3600 Tower Ave. and another location at 1500 N. 34th St.

The newly minted Chief Executive Officer Jessie Peterson said the organization’s goal is to open the new facility, which is a rental property, in January 2022.

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The planning for the new building began before the outbreak of the pandemic.

“We spent almost a year looking for the right location,” said Peterson. “As a community health center, our mission is what anchors us.”

It was critical that the new facility be on a bus route and in a neighborhood with an underserved population in terms of health care.

“Those pieces really were our driving force, they made us very picky and limited our options,” said Peterson.

Other perks of the former Super One location include the pharmacy two blocks away, the many local businesses in the neighborhood, and convenient location for folks from rural Douglas County.

A rendering by DSGW Architects shows what the completed Lake Superior Community Health Center at 2222 E. Fifth St. will look like.  The center is holding a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, July 16, with the aim of completing construction in January 2022.  (Courtesy rendering of the Lake Superior Community Health Center)

A rendering by DSGW Architects shows what the completed Lake Superior Community Health Center at 2222 E. Fifth St. will look like. The center is holding a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, July 16, with the aim of completing construction in January 2022. (Courtesy rendering of the Lake Superior Community Health Center)

The design process took another year. It was, Peterson said, “an opportunity for us to really serve our patients the way we really want to.”

The new facility is designed in a petal model, with each of the programs linked to a central lobby. The number of dental practices in Superior will increase from eight to 12 and the number of examination rooms from four to 13. Also included are an upgraded lab, play therapy room, on-site imaging – a first for the organization – a wellness center and a dedicated patient dining room stocked with clothing, groceries, toiletries and more for customers to access can.

The Lake Superior Community Health Center celebrates its 50th anniversary in the Twin Ports in 2022. It started as a free clinic in the basement of the Sacred Heart Music Center in 1972 and became a federally accredited health center in 1993. Health center currently operates facilities in Duluth and Carlton Counties, Minnesota.

The construction project is a measure of the center’s commitment to the community, Peterson said.

“Providing our patients with a truly state-of-the-art new clinical facility is something we strive for,” said Peterson.

According to Lee Homan, marketing and business development manager, the health center currently serves nearly 9,000 patients. It emphasizes integrated health care.

The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of the country’s 1,400 community health centers to the health system as they provide innovative ways to treat patients and help vulnerable populations access health care, Peterson said.

“Community health centers have received bipartisan support since the 1960s because access to health care is one of the problems that only permeates political noise,” Peterson said.

The Twin Ports is a medically rich community, but the Lake Superior Community Health Center is a part of the local health care system. The facilities offer services for everyone insured, underinsured, uninsured, Medical Assistance, Medicare, BadgerCare, MinnesotaCare with sliding fee scale for high deductibles.

“We are really designed as a different health model. And I think that allows us to find our way and go and have great relationships with other health institutions in the area, “said Peterson.

Services continue in Duluth and Carlton Counties.

“I think what COVID really taught us is that we must continue to look for ways to disconnect from a room … to make sure we are investing in our patients who don’t necessarily have to come.” “said Peterson.

This could include more telemedicine options, possible expansion of services in Carlton County, and new models for bringing health care into the community.

The board of directors of the Lake Superior Community Health Center announced on July 14th that Jessie Peterson will serve as permanent chief executive officer. She has been at the center since 2017 and, according to a press release, took over the position of interim CEO in January. Long-time former CEO Dayle Patterson died of leukemia in February.

“Jessie brings incredibly strong operational, strategic and development skills to this role. During her tenure as Interim CEO, she has shown an unwavering commitment to our patients, our mission and the quality of care we provide, ”said Shelly Marquardt, LSCHC Chief Executive Officer.

Peterson led the LSCHC team in managing the COVID-19 pandemic and served as a test site and vaccination site.

“I’m excited to see what we can do to not only keep our focus but also make sure we are really focused on how we best serve our communities,” said Peterson.

For more information, please visit the Lake Superior Community Health Center website: https://lschc.org/.