Construction begins on new Williams health clinic

An artists rendition of the purposed new health clinic in Williams.

An artists rendition of the purposed new health clinic in Williams.

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — Following months of anticipation, construction has begun on the new health clinic in Williams.

After 68 years in the same building, Williams residents will soon be able to get health care in a state of the art facility.

Northern Arizona Healthcare Foundation (NAHF) is funding the facility with a $6 million grant. The new facility will better accommodate patients for primary and urgent care needs and provide additional services such as an expanded physical therapy department. The building will also have a large community room for group classes.

Representatives from NAHF and North Country HealthCare (NCHC), along with Williams Hospital District board members, ceremonially broke ground on the new facility in September 2017. Construction was to begin in April 2018, however, slight delays with the architectural and construction plans moved the start date to July.

“It’s all starting to move now,” said Williams Hospital District board member George Glen. “There are multiple pieces that had to be brought together.”

Glen said the permits have been obtained and the city is pleased with the progress.

“We’re looking at a fall/winter completion in 2019,” he said. “Depending upon the weather, obviously.”

Glen said the current clinic will remain open during the construction although people may be inconvenienced during the progress.

“All of the same services will be provided as they are now,” he said. “There will be no lack of care. North Country is doing it now and will continue it during the construction.”

The new clinic will extend from Seventh Street to Sixth Street with the front of the building placed where the back of the existing structure is located.

“The new parking is going to be on the Sixth Street side,” Glen said.

The first phase of construction has begun, which includes upgrading the utilities.

“Century Link has begun over there,” Glen said. “There are some overhead lines that need to be taken down and an underground data cable has to be put in.”

Glen said demolition will begin shortly on the back of the old clinic structure, which is where the physical therapy room was located.

“After that’s done the next phase is going to be the beginning of the construction of the new building,” he said.

The current health clinic was built in the 1950s and served as a hospital, urgent care center and clinic over the years.

Staff at the clinic said it has been challenging to work in the facility with outdated electrical systems and plumbing. They said they have been limited on modernizing the facility.

North Country HealthCare will continue to provide services at the new clinic. They have worked alongside the Williams Hospital Board and architects in the design for the new facility.

The building will allow North Country to continue with primary and urgent care needs for the community and the second floor will allow them to expand their physical therapy department.

The Williams Hospital District Governing Board worked for several years to find financial backing to replace the existing clinic.

A needs assessment found that the cost to modernize the structure would be around $9 million and building a new facility would cost $6 million.

The needs of the community meshed with the focus of Northern Arizona Healthcare Foundation. The group has three major focus areas: behavioral health, chronic illness and access to healthcare.

Williams Hospital District began working with JWA Architects once the grant was received. JWA Architects was already familiar with the clinic through past work on the facility and has worked on several other clinics such as NCHC in Springerville, Flagstaff and Holbrook.

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