From a strategic perspective, Providence Stewart Meadows Medical Plaza, which opens Monday, is perfectly located.
No series of billboards could better display the Providence brand than the $13.1 million, L-shaped, three-story, 64,000-square-foot medical clinic on the southwest corner of Highway 99 and Stewart Avenue.
Its cylindrical entrance offers views of Anderson and Wagner buttes. The center also brings together Providence Medical Group-Medford Medical Clinic's diagnostic imaging and lab services from east Medford, and the sports medicine unit from Central Point.
The building, designed by David Thruston of S&B James Construction Management, both extends Providence Health & Services footprint in the Rogue Valley and serves as the cornerstone for KOGAP's 79-acre Stewart Meadows Village.
"Strategically, this location is really good," Providence Southern Oregon Business Operations Manager Stan Solmonson said during a Thursday tour. "KOGAP was looking for a fairly significant first-tenant presence, and the visibility and traffic here made it a good spot for us."
Providence Stewart Meadows will employ 110 people, largely moved from other Providence locations.
Medford Medical Clinic Senior Manager Janine Salvatti said the urgent care is staffed by five doctors and one physician assistant.
"If there is a factor that sets our urgent care apart, it's that specifically," Salvatti said.
The clinic will handle most any need short of traumatic injury or pediatrics, she said.
"We're much more than a walk-in clinic, serving sore throats and those kinds of things, although we welcome those kind of patients," she said. "We have the capacity with our diagnostic equipment, the imaging, with our laboratory, and with physicians supporting our unit who are all presently engaged in ER and urgent care medicine."
The cost of handling patients is lower at clinics than at hospitals, something that should be noticeable when the bill arrives.
"Hospitals have a lot more bells and whistles and requirements and regulations, and what not," said Ryan Hutchinson, the clinic's diagnostic imaging director. "So operation of clinic-based imaging is cheaper, and we're able to offer that at a lower rate."
Medford Medical Clinic was formed in 1999. When Providence absorbed the clinic in 2015, there was immediate need to locate the physicians and staff who had worked at Black Oak Drive. The former Pacific Retirement Services headquarters on Ellendale Avenue provided a temporary solution while Providence planners eyed the future.
"This was always the end goal for Medford Medical Clinic," said Solmonson, adding that it will be a couple of years before the top floor is built out, though it could happen sooner if physician recruitment follows recent patterns.
"We've been pretty successful the last few years," he said. "If that trend continues, it may be sooner rather than later."
Among the potential third-floor occupants are the family practice group, now housed at Providence's East McAndrews Avenue campus, and the sports medicine unit.
"We're looking at any number of options," Solmonson said. "It's just departments and services on a board right now."
While many services kept in the hospital campus across town won't be available when the doors open, some may find their way to the plaza down the road.
"If you look at the last 15 years, the trend is always shifting things from hospital inpatient to outpatient ambulatory," Solmonson said. "Things we used to do in the hospital are now done on an outpatient basis; who would have known?"
For KOGAP Development Director Edward Istel, the project has been a long time coming.
"It's been over 10 years now that this has been on the burners. We're very excited to see the street lights lit up," Istel said. "It's a great first tenant for Stewart Meadows Village. It's a fabulous facility."
Istel said Providence has exclusive use rights to the area west of the clinic along Stewart Avenue.
"This is a big first step, and hopefully will get Stewart Meadows hopping," he said. "Hopefully this summer we'll get started with our residential apartments along the golf course."
Myers Lane will reopen this weekend, giving patrons direct access off Stewart Avenue. A public open house is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25.
— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness or www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.