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Major renovation project underway at MDG Clinic

Col. Jeffrey White, 377th Medical Group commander, swings at sledgehammer at a wall during a wall breaking ceremony Jan. 12 to signify the start of major construction to the Medical Clinic. The facility will undergo major renovations in a $16.9 million project. (Photo by Dennis Carlson)

Col. Jeffrey White, 377th Medical Group commander, swings at sledgehammer at a wall during a wall breaking ceremony Jan. 12 to signify the start of major construction to the Medical Clinic. The facility will undergo major renovations in a $16.9 million project. (Photo by Dennis Carlson)

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Members of the 377th Medical Group donned hard hats and a sledgehammer and broke down a wall at the main clinic Jan. 11 at a wall breaking ceremony that signified the start of major construction on a $16.9 million upgrade to the facility.

About 81,000 square feet of the main clinic will be renovated. Preliminary construction started in October 2015, with the major renovations starting now. 

"You get used to where you're at, but when you walk into a newer facility, you look around and say, 'Dang, this is nice.' People are going to say 'dang, this is nice' when they walk into this facility 18 months from now," said Col. Jeffrey White, 377th MDG commander.

Richard Hart, facility manager, said the clinic will see aesthetic upgrades such as new flooring, carpet and paint, but will also see major upgrades throughout, especially in the physical therapy room. There will also be adjustments to the clinic layout to make it more efficient and effective for patients.

Hart said the Medical Group will continue to minimize inconvenience to patients during the construction as much as possible. They constructed a temporary facility that will be used to stage some of the clinics during different phases of the project.

"One thing we're focused on in this project is safety," White said. "Safety from the standpoint of renovation and construction, and implementing safety measures for our patients. We currently have safe, high quality care for our patients, but when we're done, we're going to have that in a brand new facility, with new equipment, new furniture and more.  It's going to be great."

The project is expected to be finished in the summer of 2017.

The 377th MDG provides daily operational medical support to the 377th Air Base Wing and more than 100 associate organizations. The group provides primary health care and specialty care to patients enrolled in TRICARE Prime, both those assigned to Kirtland as well as other eligible beneficiaries.