The San Juan Health Service District plans to build a new rural health clinic in Spanish Valley. The district has purchased land and secured funding for the $6.4 million facility, which will be constructed on what is set to become one of the main intersections in the growing community.
The district will provide nearly $1 million for the project, with $400,000 for the property and $600,000 for the furnishings and fixtures.
In addition, the health service district has secured a preliminary commitment from the Utah Community Impact Board for an additional $5.4 million. The CIB funding will be 25 percent in a grant and the remaining 75 percent in a 1 percent loan over 30 years.
The clinic is set to be constructed on the northeast corner of the intersection of Spanish Valley Drive and Old Airport Road. It is near the site of the administrative buildings for the old airport, which was abandoned when the new Grand County airport was built approximately 60 years ago.
The intersection has been identified as one of two “neighborhood centers” in the development plans for Spanish Valley.
The health service district purchased five acres of land from the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) for $378,685.
Health District officials state that the property is large enough to meet the needs of the district and the community as both entities grow.
Health District CEO Clayton Holt estimates that the new clinic will be operational within 24 to 36 months. The clinic will be built to hospital standards.
In recent years, the health service district has built new clinics in Monticello and Blanding. These clinics will serve as the model for the development of the new clinic.
“We have learned a lot from the last two clinics and that will help us as we design this clinic,” said Farley Crofts, an administrator in the health service district.
Crofts characterized the new clinic as a “one-stop shop” with full clinic services, including x-ray, ultrasound, pharmacy and laboratory services.
“This clinic will be successful when it opens,” said Crofts. “And we plan to be able to scale the clinic up as things change.”
Crofts stated that demand is growing for medical services in northern San Juan County. He characterized the new project as “responding to patients and what they need and taking services to the people.”
The health service district operated a clinic in Spanish Valley for several years. It eventually closed. “There was plenty of demand for servicers earlier,” said Crofts. “But the organization wasn’t in a position for it to be successful.”
Crofts added that the health service district now has the staffing, capital resources, and ability to have a successful clinic in Spanish Valley.
“Frankly, we needed to get our own house in order before we turned our attention to Spanish Valley,” said Crofts.
In addition to the demand from the current residents, there will be growing demand for health care services. SITLA owns thousands of acres of land in Spanish Valley and is gearing up to develop the properties. In addition, there are large pieces of private property that are also likely to be developed.
Preliminary estimates are that Spanish Valley could become the largest community in San Juan County within a few decades.
On Nov. 19, the San Juan County Commission approved a series of ordinances governing growth and development in Spanish Valley. The ordinances were approved as a six-month moratorium expired for commercial development along Highway 191 in Spanish Valley.
This report was originally published in the San Juan Record on Nov. 27.