Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Community Health Center Tops Off $17 Million Expansion

Project unifies Outreach's operations under one roof, improving health care programs.

By - Oct 26th, 2022 02:00 pm
Outreach Community Health Centers expansion at 210 W. Capitol Dr. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Outreach Community Health Centers expansion at 210 W. Capitol Dr. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

One of the leading Milwaukee providers of health care to the uninsured is undergoing a significant expansion.

Outreach Community Health Centers is adding a four-story, 58,000-square-foot addition to its clinic facility at 210 W. Capitol Dr. The $17.25 million project will allow the organization to provide all of its services under one roof in an integrated care model.

“We really wanted to bring everything on site so we can treat the whole person, make access to care easy and try to reduce any of the barriers to services,” said interim CEO and chief clinical officer Angela C. Sanders. “That includes the stigma where someone is willing to come take care of their physical health, but not their mental health.”

Partners and supporters gathered Wednesday morning to ‘top off’ the project, signing a steel beam that was then hoisted up to the top of the structure.

The facility will include an expanded behavioral care clinic. “We have designed a space for integrated care,” said Sanders, describing a strategy where staff members come to the client instead of moving them around the facility. “The person walks in the door and the whole team surrounds that person.”

The new building will also include two new partnerships. Ascension will open a dental clinic in the building and Milwaukee County’s Behavioral Health Division crisis team will be located in the facility. “We’re all going to be working together to provide a full continuum of services,” she said.

The organization, a nonoprofit, 501(c)(3) group incorporated in 1982 as “Healthcare for the Homeless,” has operated out of a two-story building at 711 W. Capitol Dr. since 1993. “Over the years we have outgrown that building and it was becoming very costly to maintain,” said Sanders.

It added the second building in 2004 and purchased the property outright in 2016. The two-story building, the first floor of which is leased to Chase Bank, was constructed in 1960 according to city records.

Despite the proximity of the two facilities, Sanders said it was often a barrier for people to move between them. Part of that includes the fact that heavily-trafficked Capitol Drive slopes under two bridges in the intervening blocks. The interim CEO said other locations were explored before a decision was made to expand the 210 W. Capitol Dr. property.

Board secretary and treasurer Carla Cross, one of the city’s leading contracting management providers, has spearheaded the project from the board side. She helped put together a team that includes general contractor JCP Construction, designer Continuum Architects + Planners and owner’s representative Emem Group. “We’re happy to be able to do this for our staff. We want them to have a great place to work. They have stressful jobs,” said Cross. She said the building is being constructed to the WELL Building Standard, a performance-based system designed to quantify the building’s impact on the health of those who occupy it.

Cross said Outreach contributed $7 million in equity and is financing the remainder through tax-exempt bonds with Bank First.

“Whether it’s health or wealth, we are doing the right thing by building up Milwaukee,” said Mayor Cavalier Johnson. Glendale Mayor Bryan Kennedy also attended the ceremony as the northern portion of the property is located in the suburb.

Board chair Warner Jackson emceed the event. “Today’s celebration gives us a hope and a signal that our unwavering resolve to serve the community is the best of what Outreach has to offer,” he said.

The new building will be completed in fall 2023.



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