BLUEFIELD — Healthcare services were added Friday to Bluefield’s downtown when a ribbon cutting ceremony was hosted for the new Bluestone Family Practice along Bland Street.
The new clinic at 701 Bland Street has replaced the Bluestone clinic off Cumberland Road in Bluefield, according to Linda Hutchens, CEO of the Bluestone Health Care Association, Inc.
“First of all, I want to say we are very, very glad to be able to have this ribbon cutting today and let you look at our facility, “ Linda Hutchens said. “We have actually completed the first floor and second floor, and really we’ve done the third floor, but we’ve got some more things to do. But we wanted to hurry up and get this facility open. We are an FQHC, which is a federally qualified health center, and we have time limits on how fast we have to get something open.”
The construction crew has worked well with the health care association to get the former Hawley Building renovated.
“It’s A-Plus Construction and they’re from the area and they have worked with us so well. They did anything we asked them to and they asked us if there is anything they can do to help us,” Hutchens said.
The clinic will provide a variety of family medical services.
“This is going to be a family practice just like we had out on Cumberland Road and we just do family practice medicine: physicals, well-child checkups, nothing to do with Suboxone or anything here at this site, so let me rest your minds with that. We have nothing to do with that,” Hutchens said.
Local leaders believe the clinic will bring even more traffic downtown and benefit its stores and restaurants.
“I think it’s fantastic and part of the mission we had in mind for the downtown,” said Mayor Ron Martin of the clinic’s opening. “We want to see a lively downtown, and we want to do everything we can to make that happen.”
Along with the arrival of technology companies Intuit and Alcoa, having the Bluestone Family Practice will help make downtown a more lively place, Martin said.
Norman Fletcher, president of Bluestone Health’s board of directors, attended Friday’s grand opening with Pete Stamoulis, the board’s vice president.
“We’re thankful to be able to come here to Bluefield and offer the services that we offer,” Fletcher told the guests gathered outside the new clinic.
The Bluestone Health Care Association has grown considerably since it started out with one location, he stated.
“For years, we’ve wanted to do nothing but provide quality, affordable health care,” Fletcher said. “We started out in Matoaka, a little place with 12 staff. Today, we have five (clinics), we’re working on two more, and we have over 130 people that work with us. We’re just tickled to death to come here to downtown Bluefield where I used to come down when I was boy, go down to Kresge’s and get in the candy barrel.”
Bluestone Family Practice staff gave the guests tours of the new interior designed by architect Bryson VanHostrand. The modern, well-lit facility includes examination rooms, a laboratory, an elevator and even a lofty three-story central waiting area that will feature a skylight later.
The city had owned the building before selling it to Bluestone Health, Martin said. Funding for the renovations came from the Hugh I. Shott Foundation, the Downtown Appalachia Redevelopment Initiative and an EPA Brownfield grant, according to Jim Spencer, Bluefield’s director of community and economic development.
The Cumberland Road clinic has been closed, and all appointments have been moved to the downtown clinic, Hutchens said.
Bluestone Family Practice is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and closed Saturday and Sunday. It is closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.
— Contact Greg Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org