With its number of patients nearly doubled during the last two years, Milwaukee’s Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center needed a new home to keep up with its growing clientele. Moving into the former Goldmann’s department store building will allow the nonprofit clinic to triple its footprint and accommodate nearly 4,000 more patient visits in its first year of operation.
“There is excitement and anticipation from the community that with the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center, we will be even better equipped to carry on our mission for Milwaukee-area Indian health care from a newly renovated, modern facility,” said Garrett Boyd (pictured above), the center’s board chairman.
An April 17 ground breaking was held for the center, which will open in November with 11 new employees. Converting Goldmann’s into an American Indian medical clinic began in February thanks to partnerships and multiple funding sources, including a $3.4 million loan to buy and renovate the building jointly provided by IFF and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.
Within easy walking distance of Ignace’s current site, the building stood vacant for six years in the center of the historic Mitchell Street corridor. The $5.5 million project also will be financed with new markets tax credits from the Greater Wisconsin Opportunities Fund Inc., a subsidiary of WHEDA. The project will receive $1.5 million in NMTC equity, with U.S. Bank as the equity investor.
The clinic serves around 2,000 lower-income people annually, including 1,200 American Indians. Its new home will include more exam rooms, six therapy rooms, a resource training center, a kitchen, and space for a future dental clinic.