Crystal Campos Valls doesn't see the transition of services to Christus Spohn Shoreline from the Memorial campus and a new Westside health center as the end of an era, but rather a way to expand access for those seeking care and the professionals giving it.
"It's going to be a brand new clinic with more room for more physicians," Valls, a regional physician leader at Christus Family Medicine Associates-South. "The residents are going to be able to stay in this location, and (it) will be able to serve the population."
Area leaders broke ground Monday on the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Family Health Center, a proposed 43,000 square-foot facility set to open in 2016 on the property of Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial. A choir group from Zavala Elementary School opened the ceremony with a Christmas carol and rendition of "God Bless America."
The center will focus on preventive care and chronic disease management. Features will include a drive-thru pharmacy, an extended hours clinic and a wing for specialty health providers who will rotate through the clinic.
Once a major emergency room overhaul is made to Christus Spohn Hospital Shoreline, slated to cost nearly $300 million, and the facility is constructed, the current Memorial campus will be demolished.
Valls graduated from the residency program at Memorial before working for nine years at the Christus Spohn Family Health Center on the Westside.
"We have a clinic now, but it's not anywhere the size (of the new facility)," Valls said. "They're wanting to have classes for the indigent population and a kitchen for diabetic teaching and diabetic education classes. They're expanding to provide better care."
The late physician's daughter, Cecilia Garcia Akers, spoke along with Spohn leaders and other dignitaries.
"What a wonderful day this is for the citizens of Corpus Christi," said Cecilia Garcia Akers, daughter of the late physician, civil rights leader and American GI Forum founder. "It has been a tough road for us to get here today, but the hard work will begin in 2016 when the doors open."
The facility is scheduled to open by late summer or fall 2016.