LIMA — Health Partners of Western Ohio has recognized a few needs locally and is working to fill them.
It’s expanding and growing.
The nonprofit organization bought a building it’s been leasing for a few years, and other parcels of land, on May 19 on the corner of North West and Wayne streets for $300,000, according to the Allen County Auditor’s website.
“As we see needs we continue to step up to those needs,” said Janis Sunderhaus, CEO of Health Partners.
The organization’s administrative headquarters has been occupying the second floor of the brick building at 329 N. West St. for about two years, leasing it from a doctor that works with them, Wilfred Ellis.
Now, Health Partners intends to renovate the building and open a full-service vision center and an infectious disease service on the first floor, to open in about two years, Sunderhaus said.
The organization, which works to treat people who don’t have a primary care provider, saw a need locally for the services it’s going to open in the building it purchased.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in hepatitis C in the community, so this will help give us a space to be able to provide more comprehensive services for those patients,” Sunderhaus said. And “there’s many low income people who don’t have access to vision service.”
The organization plans to hire about 20 people when the new services open, and has about 255 employees.
The building was built in 1961 and each story measures a little more than 5,000 square feet, according to the Allen County Auditor’s website.
Along with the building, Health Partners of Western Ohio bought about four other parcels of land on the corner. The land on the other parcels is empty and the organization is planning to make it green space or maybe open community gardens.
“We’re part of wanting to beautify downtown,” Sunderhaus said. “We are really excited about being able to really work with this corner … to really kind of bring that into the whole new and exciting plans that’s happening.”
The doctor who sold the building to the organization, Ellis, has been doing infectious disease services and will work for the organization in the building it now owns, she said.
“The most important thing is Health Partners of Western Ohio is still here, we’re growing,” Sunderhaus said. It’s “the largest and fastest growing community health center in Northwest Ohio.”