The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 5, 2011

Stimulus funding, health center are just what the doctor ordered

By Joe Malan, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

CHEROKEE — Great Salt Plains Health Center has finished remodeling a building for new offices.

The 16,000-square-foot building, formerly Alfalfa County Hospital, was built in the late-1970s and closed in the mid-1990s. It is at 405 S. Oklahoma.

The old hospital sat vacant for many years until Great Salt Plains Health Center decided to undertake its renovation project.

“With the stimulus funding, we received a grant for capital improvement for health centers,” said GSPHC Executive Director Tim Starkey. “It was a $2.8 million grant.”

The grant helped GSPHC remodel the building from concrete flooring to ceiling.

In June 2009, GSPHC’s board of directors voted to approve drawings for the project.

The health center applied for the grant in August and in December received money needed to do the renovations.

“It’s just very exciting to see the federal stimulus funds come down to a local level, to impact the local community,” Starkey said.

Starkey said the Cherokee area has been decreasing in population, and he hopes the use of this stimulus money changes that.

GSPHC provides two family medicine practitioners, two obstetrics/gynecology practitioners, a dentist and three behavioral health practitioners.

In addition to the new GSPHC offices, the center has applied for an additional site in Medford. The application is pending, Starkey said, and a decision should be announced in August.

That will depend on the 2011 fiscal year budget and how much the state has available to spend on certain agencies.