The first few shovels of dirt toward constructing Sutter Gould Medical Foundation's new 37,000-square-foot Turlock Care Center were moved Monday.
Sutter management broke ground on the $23 million project to replace and upgrade its 63-year-old clinic on East Main Street. The new site, at North Golden State Boulevard and West Christoffersen Parkway, will have up to three times the medical staff and expanded services.
Sutter Gould Medical Foundation Chief Executive Officer Paul DeChant said plans originally had been drawn five years ago for a new Turlock center. But the recession stalled that project.
"The old building is about eligible for Medicare at this point," DeChant joked during the ceremonies.
The current Turlock Medical Clinic was built in 1950 and has a staff of 10 in a 17,000-square-foot space. The new center will have 25 to 30 physicians in nearly triple the space. The new center, part of Sutter Health's not-for-profit network of health care services, is slated to open in fall 2014.
The facility will offer daily and after-hours urgent care, family and internal medicine, pediatrics, radiology, lab services and specialty care. The latter in particular will be expanded to include a greater variety of visiting medical specialists.
"This will allow us to significantly expand our services and better serve Turlock," said Dr. Martin Pricco, president of Gould Medical Group.
The building, which is being constructed by Escalon-based C.T. Brayton and Sons, will include a large parking lot and leave two acres undeveloped for future growth.
Turlock's health care landscape and need have seen changes in the past year. The nearly 100-year-old non-profit Emanuel Medical Center was purchased this year by for-profit Tenet Healthcare Corp., which owns Doctors Medical Center of Modesto and Doctors Hospital of Manteca.
Last month the Blue Diamond plant in Turlock opened, bringing more workers to the city. And hiring has begun at both of the new large-scale distribution centers in nearby Patterson and Tracy.
"Turlock is a great town and so many positive things are happening here," DeChant said.