By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
It’s been hard to miss the construction of Kaiser Permanente’s new medical facility.
The 10,000 square foot building in Keizer Station is highly visible to anyone around the shopping area.
Now, we know when the use of the building should be available to anyone.
“It should be opening on December 15 of this year,” Jefferson Mildenberger, Mid-Valley Service Area director, told the Keizertimes last week. “There will be building occupancy before that. The building should be complete about midway through November.”
The projected opening date means new clinics for Keizer at both ends of 2014, as the Silverton Health Keizer Health Center opened on Inland Shores Way back in February.
While the Silverton Health clinic is 10,000 square feet, originally the Kaiser Permanente clinic was going to be much bigger.
“We were going to do 20,000 square feet on two stories originally,” Mildenberger said. “It’s a little smaller than we originally planned for. There was some debate. The other 10,000 (square feet) was going to be room for future growth.”
Mildenberger said the new building will be Kaiser Permanente’s first in the Salem area to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified green.
Kaiser Permanente currently has three medical offices in Salem, in addition to two dental offices and Salem Hospital.
“We’re mostly excited about bringing health care closer to home to Salem and Keizer,” Mildenberger said. “We have about 10,000 members who live there already. It’s not about growing market share, it’s about putting services closer to the people there. This takes some relief off the other buildings.”
Mildenberger said the new facility will offer primary care with six providers, a nurse treatment center, imaging, electrocardiogram (EKG) testing, a pharmacy, phlebotomy, radiology and a lab.
“It’s similar to other Kaiser Permanente facilities,” he said. “When it’s fully built out, it will be twice as big as the one in West Salem.”
Mildenberger noted company officials have been hearing from customers about the upcoming clinic.
“We’re hearing a lot about how it will be so nice to have services closer to home,” he said. “We’ve been in Salem for 36 years. To reinvest and show our commitment is important, to show we are invested.”
Mildenberger doesn’t believe the Kaiser Permanente clinic and the Silverton Health one will be going after the same consumers.
“We don’t consider that direct competition,” he said. “It’s about bringing care closer to the 10,000 members who live there.”
Excitement has surrounded the Kaiser Permanente facility since it was publicly announced in June 2013.
“To have that available in this city is huge,” mayor Lore Christopher said at the time. “Our location is so darn good, in a short time it will be a heavily used clinic. It will draw from all directions, since it will be so much easier to get to.”
Councilor Cathy Clark also greeted the news warmly.
“I think it’s great,” Clark said at the time. “It’s the kind of higher end, high wage, permanent jobs, the kind of office and medical type of jobs we know are complimentary to Salem. I’m very pleased they’ve decided to build here and be part of our business community.”
Christopher predicted more to come.
“I think you’re going to see more medical support businesses come to town now,” she said. “It shows extreme confidence in our city, our policies and especially in our location. There’s no better location than Keizer.”