$50K grant to support administrative space at Community Health Center of Franklin County in Orange

  • The Community Health Center of Franklin County and Behavioral Health Network on New Athol Road in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The Community Health Center of Franklin County on New Athol Road in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 5/30/2022 10:55:15 AM

ORANGE — The Community Health Center of Franklin County plans to use a $50,000 state grant to renovate the upper portion of one of its two Orange buildings to create more administrative space.

Dr. Allison van der Velden, the health center’s CEO, explained the money will pay for work inside the multi-tenant building on the western side of the Health Center Plaza, formerly the Aubuchon Plaza, at 119 New Athol Road. The Community Health Center of Franklin County closed on the property in August 2020 and opened the following year, after establishing a medical facility and dental office in the main building. However, an upstairs renovation in the adjacent structure was not possible at that time.

Van der Velden acknowledged this is “not the sexiest project” because it is purely functional, but it will create vital office space and patient services, where information will be collected from patients before an appointment.

“We are just completely out of office space and we don’t want to have to infringe upon our patient care space to get work done,” she explained.

The $50,000 is part of the more than $1 million awarded to 22 health centers across the state through MassDevelopment’s Community Health Center Grant Program, which offers grants for capital improvement projects that include construction, renovation, equipment, furniture and technology-related projects, as well as facility needs related to the pandemic.

“By providing affordable health care and social services to vulnerable populations across Massachusetts, community health centers are indispensable assets in our neighborhoods,” Dan Rivera, president and CEO of MassDevelopment, said in a statement. “As we try to bounce back from the pandemic, it’s as important as ever to support the critical capital projects and improvements of these organizations through our Community Health Center Grant Program.”

“We’re super grateful to MassDevelopment for the funding,” van der Velden said, adding that the work at the Orange facility will begin as soon as a contractor is selected. “We’re really, really lucky to have that resource.”

The Community Health Center of Franklin County provides medical, dental and behavioral health care, and supports social services such as transportation, language interpretation and insurance navigator services. In December 2021, the organization partnered with Behavioral Health Network to start the Orange Opioid Treatment Program — the state’s first rural methadone clinic — at 119 New Athol Road, Suite 210. Methadone is a daily medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat opioid use disorder.

The hours and contact information for the Orange location are available at chcfc.org/orange. There are also locations at 102 Main St. in Greenfield and at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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