HOUGHTON - The growth of the student population at Michigan Technological University meant the space at the Portage Health University Center was getting tight, so hospital officials thought something had to be done to remedy that situation, and what was done was put on display Wednesday.
At the grand opening for the newly expanded, $4.2 million facility on MacInnes Drive, several hospital and university officials spoke before a ribbon cutting and Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours open house.
Jim Bogan, Portage Health president and CEO, said the new facility exists because of cooperation between the entities involved.
Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Portage Health President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Bogan gives some opening remarks Wednesday grand opening of the Portage Health University Center clinic in Houghton.
"This project would not have happened without the university," he said.
After Bogan's opening remarks, during which he thanked everyone involved, Glenn Patrick, PH facilities director, said the project was completed on time because of teamwork.
"This team had to go through some things that are not common," he said.
Patrick said the construction work had to be done while accommodating health care providers and patients in the existing facility, as well as university functions such as the neighboring Student Development Complex and Little Huskies child day care. Work also had to be done over existing utilities for the clinic and SDC.
"It was very difficult," he said.
Moyle Construction was the general contractor for the project, Patrick said, and OHM Architects, Engineers and Planners was the site engineer. There were many subcontractors for the project, also.
"When you get hundreds of people putting together thousands of ideas, it's amazing what can happen," he said.
The interior of the building was designed to deaden sound, Patrick said. The expansion of the clinic doubled the number of exam and procedure rooms. The waiting room was also expanded.
Glenn Mroz, Tech president, said he's glad the new clinic is open.
"It's been great to get this project done, and to help in whatever way we can," he said.
Mroz said the original structure was constructed in 2000, and in that time the university student, staff and faculty population has grown significantly, so the expanded clinic is very much needed.
"This has really been great to meet the needs of Michigan Tech," he said.
Steve Zutter, PH board president, said the new facility is better than he thought it would be.
"It turned out beautifully, and it exceeded many expectations," he said. "This is a quality addition."
Zutter said the expanded clinic will contribute to the economic well-being of the community, also.
During the tour of the facility, Bogan said the expansion of the clinic was done because more health care providers were needed to look after the needs of an expanding student and faculty population at Tech, as well as the local community, which is aging.
"This is not only student services, it's for the community," he said.
After touring the expanded facility, Hancock resident John Haeussler said he was impressed.
"It clearly benefits the community, and it clearly benefits Tech," he said. "Kudos to Portage Health."