Paw Paw health clinic drops plans for specialty center, citing costs

by Kate Evans

Mountaineer Community Health Center in Paw Paw has dropped their plans to build a medical specialty building in the parking lot behind the health center due to lack of funding.

Mountaineer Community Health Center is located on the top floor of the Paw Paw Senior Center.

Health Center CEO Ciro Grassi said that construction bids came back very high for the project, hitting around $1.2 million dollars.  The health center received a $511,044 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to build the medical specialty center.

Fiscally the health center couldn’t come up with the extra amount needed for the addition construction, he said.

New plans

Their plans now for the grant money are to put a new roof on their facility, add solar panels, renovate an existing room for physical therapy and add equipment such as computers and monitors for providing virtual health care visits with specialists, Grassi said.

Center officials also plan to build a small garage for the van that they use to transport patients.

Mountaineer Community Health Center has a verbal agreement with the Health Resources and Services Administration to change the scope of work for the grant funding and is putting together a written proposal, he said.

When they got the construction bids at a July bid opening, both were much higher than expected, Grassi said.     They considered other options, which included going with a pre-fabricated building or a steel building.  He said that choosing a pre-fabricated building wouldn’t have brought down the construction costs enough to have made it feasible.

Plans had been for a single-story square foot building to have included an x-ray room, a physical therapy room, two exam rooms and a behavioral health room where specialty medical providers could have seen patients.

Mountaineer Community Health Center is still looking to expand their specialty services and is in talks with Valley Health to do that with them, Grassi said.

They’ve dropped their plans for an x-ray room as the demand for x-rays is very low and it’s just not feasible to do that at their main facility. Grassi said that Mountaineer’s space is tight, but that they can manage.

The health center has been providing behavioral health care for patients but their behavioral health care provider left, Grassi said.  They are currently seeking another provider. Their options are referring clients to E. A. Hawse Behavioral Health Center in Romney or going with a virtual provider with another company.

Grassi said that he’s disappointed that they’re not going to be able to put up a new building, but is encouraged that they’ll be able to provide services in another way.

Thrasher Group architect Lee Gustafson would remain in charge of the project, unless they decide to go with a steel building for the garage for their van, Grassi said. The Thrasher Group developed the addition’s building plan diagram and assisted with the bid process.

A construction deadline to have all the work completed based on the Health Resources and Services Administration grant is September 14, 2024, Grassi said.