Construction approved for Westside Family Health Center

Council approved plans for the new Westside Family health Center (above), which will incorporate the historic Engine House 17, to be used as community space.

Columbus City Council March 3 approved a $6.1 million construction contract for the Westside Family Health Center at 2300 W. Broad St.

Ground will be broken this spring for the 35,000 square-foot facility, with the project expected to take a year to complete, according to Gary L. Baker II, chairman of the Greater Hilltop Area Commission.

The center, which will provide primary health care as well as vision, dental and obstetric services, will be open to all residents but will largely serve the residents of Franklinton, Westland and the Hilltop.

It will incorporate historic Engine House 17 in its design.

“We’re recycling the facility,” commented Councilwoman Charleta Tavares.

The use of the firehouse as a health center has been a point of contention with the community.

Councilman Kevin Boyce acknowledged that the planning process, which began in November, 2006, has been “arduous,” but he expressed satisfaction with the final result.

The resulting facility will provide greatly expanded health care services for the area, according to Baker.

The center replaces the closed Franklinton health center, and the Hilltop Health Center, which continues to operate on Sullivant Avenue in a building that Baker described as “small and old.”

Reusing, rather that razing, the firehouse is not the only environmentally sound feature of the center, council members pointed out.

The building has been designed to incorporate professional standards for energy efficiency, including high-efficiency lighting and windows, and recycled building materials. Drainage systems will keep 90 percent of storm water on the site.

Part of the firehouse will be used for community space, Baker said.

Council had previously approved spending to equip the center.

In other business, council authorized the Director of the Recreation and Parks Department to execute documents for the sublease between the Columbus Zoo and Zoombezi Bay, the water park which will open in May near the former site of Wyandotte Lake.

The water park, with slides, a wave pool and other attractions, will support the programs at the zoo, and a season pass covering both sites, is being offered.

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