SEDGWICK — Officials gathered in a line Tuesday morning, holding shovels stuck in the soft dirt. It was a ceremonial start to a project that after years of hard work has finally come to fruition.
Newton Medical Center hosted a groundbreaking for a new clinic slated to open this summer at 520 N. Commercial Ave. in Sedgwick. The Medical Plaza of Sedgwick will provide primary care to a community that currently does not have medical facilities within city limits.
"This has been a longtime dream of the city of Sedgwick to have medical services in the community," said Val Gleason, vice president of physician services at Newton Medical Center.
"It's really a blessing that we can do this for our community," agreed Keith DeHaven, Sedgwick mayor. "We're just looking forward to it being done."
The Sedgwick clinic will join two other clinics — the Medical Plaza of Park City and the Medical Plaza of Valley Center — that make up Newton Medical Center’s family of primary care facilities. Spencer Duncan, DO — who is currently serving as a member of Newton Medical Center’s emergency medical team — will provide primary care at the clinic.
Jaci Reimer, Sedgwick city administrator, praised local officials for being forward-thinking and looking for ways to grow the community, despite a tough economy.
"The council really has been progressive within its economic restraints to constantly add amenities in the community," Reimer said.
Steve Kelly, CEO of Newton Medical Center, said having the clinic means people will no longer have to travel outside the community to receive care.
Accessibility to quality education and health care are important amenities for those looking to move into a community; Kelly said Sedgwick already has a good school system, and will now be able to offer health-care services, as well.
"It is exciting," he said. "... I think it indicates that small town Kansas is alive and well."