By Adam Armour/Itawamba County Times
Boxes, both filled and still broken down, lined the hallways of Mantachie Clinic, a telltale sign of their upcoming move.
After more than 53 years in the same spot, the clinic is pulling up roots and moving, albeit just right down the street. The clinic will close the doors of its current location next Thursday, July 28, and reopen Monday, Aug. 1, at its new home on Highway 363, just a few hundred feet away.
The new clinic dwarfs the old – 7,200 square feet vs. 5,200 square feet; 12 exam rooms vs. seven exam rooms; and a better floor plan that gives the clinic a greater feeling of openness rather than the cramped spaces of the current location.
According to Mantachie Rural Health Care CEO Missy Sheffield, the new location represents a long stride forward. The current building, which was constructed as a house in the 1950s and retrofitted to become a medical facility some years later, simply isn’t ideal for the constant in-and-out of patient flow and has a lot of underutilized space.
Changes in the new building include a much larger patient waiting area, a lab sized twice that of the current location and a large nurses’ station at the heart of the building, which provides the employees easier access to patient rooms on either side of the hallway.
The new clinic also features an ambulance entrance and x-ray room.
It’s a far cry from the clinic’s current home, which is good news for the employees.
“It’ll be different – a big change,” said Karen Burns, one of the clinic’s 12 employees, But I think it will be for the better,” Burns said. “It’ll be good, though. A much more patient-oriented location.”
Both of the clinic’s nurse practitioners – Dorthia Walters and Dennis Roland – will come along for the move. Sheffield said that the clinic is also seeking a counselor to provide mental health services to its patients.
The project is being funded through a Community Facility Direct Loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development. Additional funds for the construction are being provided via a Community Initiatives Program grant, which came as part of a federal stimulus package and is to be used toward the construction of a new facility.
The construction of the new facility, which began in October of last year and was originally slated for completion in May, has met with several challenges, including foul weather and building troubles.
“It has been quite the experience,” Sheffield said. “Anything that could have gone or been done wrong has. We had a lot of rain days and then we couldn’t get that moisture out of the concrete … It’s just been one thing after another.”
After the move, the clinic will maintain possession of its former home, although the company has made no official announcements as to what its use will be.
The Mantachie Clinic sees about 2,700 patients each year in more than 6,000 visits.