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Published: Wednesday, 11/8/2006

Cordelia Martin to move to new site

BY CLYDE HUGHES
BLADE STAFF WRITER
From left, medical personnel Temple O'Brien, Tamara Mills, and Myrtle Sparks work at the nurses' station at Cordelia Martin Community Health Center, which will move next year. From left, medical personnel Temple O'Brien, Tamara Mills, and Myrtle Sparks work at the nurses' station at Cordelia Martin Community Health Center, which will move next year.
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The Cordelia Martin Community Health Center, the flagship building of the Neighborhood Health Association since the early 1980s, is for sale.

The nonprofit association, which provides health-care services to low-income people throughout Toledo, plans to move into a building at Toledo Public Schools' new Libbey Middle School campus at Collingwood Boulevard and Nebraska Avenue next year.

Doni Miller, the chief executive officer of the Neighborhood Health Association, said selling the building at 905 Nebraska Ave. that has been the home of the health center since 1982 is bittersweet.

"We've outgrown Cordelia," Ms. Miller said. "It just doesn't fit our needs anymore, so we need something different. We can't really wire it effectively for the type of technology we need."

Ms. Miller said moving onto the new Libbey Middle School campus to operate a health center there "is an opportunity for us. ... TPS is partnering with a lot of different agencies, and we're fortunate to be one of them."

TPS is involved with various partnerships with agencies in its new school construction program, the most prominent being an arrangement with the Greater Toledo YMCA for construction of a facility next to the new Start High School now under construction.

Ms. Miller said if the new building on the Libbey Middle School campus would not have been available, there was discussion about tearing down the current building and starting anew. The nearly 10,000-square-foot building is a former Kroger grocery store that was built in 1961.

The new 13,700-square-foot health center on the middle school campus will give Neighborhood Health all the amenities it needs to serve the community, Ms. Miller said.

She said Neighborhood Health will be able to open an over-the-counter pharmacy and dental and pediatrics clinics in the new building as well as provide family practice.

Dan Romano, chief business manager with Toledo Public Schools, said the partnership between Neighborhood Health and TPS seems to be a natural. He said the center will provide a service to the surrounding community, where the students live.

He said the school district is building the outer shell of the facility and Neighborhood Health will be responsible for the interior. The association will also pay TPS $8,500-a-month for the space under a 25-year lease agreement.

Although the new facility at the old Gunckel School site is only a short distance from the current facility, she said she'll miss the current Cordelia Martin center and its neighbors.

"I like walking into that clinic at Cordelia Martin," Ms. Miller said. "We remember trying to find $10,000 to renovate the inside, to put up new wallpaper and carpeting. That is a terrific neighborhood and has been so supportive of Cordelia Martin. They watch out for it and take care of it. They let me know if something's not quite right. That neighborhood has been great."

The health center is named after the late Cordelia Martin, a former volunteer chair of the Model Cities health committee and a tireless advocate for health care for Toledo's poor and disadvantaged who died in 1999. The first health center was opened at 1636 West Bancroft St. in 1971.

Ms. Miller said Neighborhood Health moved its administrative offices out of Cordelia Martin and nine other clinics and one senior citizen center for efficiency. The agency's administrative offices are at 313 Jefferson Ave. in downtown Toledo.

"Administratively, we were just in the way," Ms. Miller said about the cramped quarters at Cordelia Martin. "... They needed the space for clinical activities and we were taking up their space. We had to get out of the way of the patients and our doctors."

Contact Clyde Hughes at: chughes@theblade.com

or 419-724-6095.



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