MILTON — Honoring the past and looking toward the future, Valley Health on Friday celebrated the grand opening of a new comprehensive health center in Milton.

The new 15,000-square-foot, $6.5 million community health center, located just off the interstate in Milton, is open for business and is home to family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN, behavioral health, clinical pharmacy and Quickcare services, with dentistry services coming soon. Fruth Pharmacy is also operating a full-service, drive-through, retail pharmacy at the site.

The health center replaces Valley Health’s previous facility located at 1 Harbour Way in Milton, which the organization had outgrown.

“This is an office where a family medicine patient or an internal medicine patient or a pediatric patient or an OB/GYN patient can come through those doors, have their medical appointment, then be seen by a behavioral health consultant — the same day if needed — right there on the spot to help not only their medical but their emotional needs as well,” said Dr. Mathew Weimer, chief medical officer for the Milton facility. “We are adding dental services here, which is really a big need for our patient population. You all know how important dental care is to your overall health, so we are really excited about that.

“We have this fortunate situation. To think about a primary care center like this, you can have all that stuff happening for the patient, often in one day. You just don’t see that. If you live it every day sometimes you forget it, but it’s really important to remember how remarkable that is.”

The facility was built in part with help from grants from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including a $1 million infrastructure grant and a grant to purchase dental equipment.

Pam Kania, regional administrator for HRSA Region III, said Valley Health receives $7 million in grants from her organization every year, and leaders do a great job of getting supplemental grants as well, such as the dentistry grant.

Valley Health also received a $180,000 quality improvement award grant this year, and Kania praised the organization for using an HRSA student loan repayment program to attract and retain quality employees.

“A community health center like this in Milton has a positive impact on the entire community,” Kania said. “It means people are getting their health care at the health center instead of utilizing the emergency room. It means children are getting the immunizations that they need to stay in school and stay active. It means that women are getting the prenatal care they need to deliver strong and healthy babies. These investments of federal dollars into health centers absolutely improve the health of the community, but they boost the economy, too, by creating jobs in industries like construction as well as jobs at the health center itself.”

While serving the community, Mary-Beth Brubeck, Valley Health vice president of finance and chief financial officer, said they also wanted to honor the legacy left in the community by the Mountaineer Opry, which used to stand where the health center is now.

“Community health centers are more effective at positively impacting the patients they serve when they understand the culture of the community,” Brubeck said. “This very property has served the community for decades.”

For nearly 50 years, the Mountaineer Opry hosted world-class bluegrass acts. Brubeck herself grew up at the opry, watching her parents perform.

Larry and Mary Stephens, who ran the opry in the end and attended Friday’s grand opening, donated memorabilia to Valley Health. Photos of the memorabilia were turned into a mural to honor the memory of the opry. The mural is in the entryway of the health center.

The health center at Milton is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with an hour lunch break at 12:30 p.m. Quickcare hours are 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. To make an appointment, call 304-743-1407.

Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.

Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.

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