An open house for the Good Shephard Clinic's new location is tentatively set for the end of May. For more information on the clinic, its move, or the event, call (706) 429-9914.
After years of occupying the basement of Grace Presbyterian Church, the Good Shephard Clinic is moving to a new home.
The board of directors for the clinic voted unanimously to accept Northside Hospital's offer of free space in its building at 200 Dawson Commons, Suite 220. The site is the former location of the hospital's imaging center.
According to Doug Powell, treasurer for the clinic, a verbal agreement for the move has been reached, with a contract soon to follow.
"We're still waiting on a memo of understanding from Northside, which is a written document spelling out the terms of the agreement," Powell said. "... Ideally, we will have that before we move on May 11. It should be forthcoming any day now."
While the clinic will no longer be in its basement, the church is not cutting ties with the service it fostered for so long.
"Grace Presbyterian will continue to be a sponsor of the clinic," Powell said. "They've been contributing a percentage of their annual budget while we have been in their basement and I have no doubt they will continue to do that as well as promoting the clinic. Other than that, there will not be any other ties to the church."
The transition into the new building likely will occur in three stages.
The official move-in date is set for May 11, with the first day of business May 14 and patient visits May 16.
No full partnership has been announced, nor does Powell foresee one. The clinic is fully operated as the Good Shephard Clinic with space and supplies donated by Northside.
"We will also be moving our sign from the church down to the new building," he said. "They will be building a new sign in front of the building at the Commons area, where the businesses are listed, and we will be up there with everyone else."
Northside, according to Powell, is simply a charitable donor with an invested stake in the clinic, making donations of office space and supplies to help the endeavor.
"Northside offered us access to their ‘graveyard,' which is surplus furnishing and equipment, last week," Powell said. "We went down there and found several pieces, such as chairs, tables, filing cabinets, rolling carts, shelving units, a refrigerator and other office and medical supplies. Northide-Forsyth is also providing us with a brand new exam table."
Powell said this move was necessary for the clinic to grow, as the current location had become a bit cramped.
"We have two exam rooms and a nurses' station is being used for multiple purposes in the church basement," Powell said. "When we move to the new building, we will have four examination rooms and the nurses' station will be devoted to just the nurses.
"There will be more efficiency for the staff and more privacy for the patients."
The Good Shephard Clinic is also working on expanding its offerings, though this process is a bit more difficult than originally imagined, said Powell.
"We still don't have the dental facilities quite yet. It's something we plan to do once we get into this new space," he said. "We have a committee, with retired dentists involved, working on it.
"We'll get there, but it's proven a lot more difficult than starting the medical side."
Overall, Powell said that the church space was greatly appreciated by the clinic and its staff, but that it was just time to expand.
"I think this move symbolizes a transition from the clinic being a church mission to a project being supported by the community."