CHOP, City Team Up for Health Center

One of the busiest public health centers in the city is about to get an overhaul thanks to one of the city's biggest hospitals.

And the brand new public health center is coming to the community without the city needing to foot the entire bill.

"We have the chance for people to live healthier lives, all through a set of facilities that are managed public and private together," Philadelphia Health Commissioner Donald Schawrz told NBC10’s Katy Zachry. "I'm excited about the opportunity and I think it could be a model for the country."

Construction is set to begin this spring on a new health center at Broad and Morris Streets in South Philadelphia. The current Philadelphia District Health Center is a busy hub for people looking for health checks or when they get sick but the current building needs an overhaul.

“There’s usually a line out there every morning… when they open,” said South Philly resident Miranda Keys.

The new facility, set to open in December 2015, is being built as part of an agreement between the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the city.

CHOP was already looking to relocate its South Philly facility and the need to revamp the city center posed a perfect opportunity. CHOP will use half of the new building for its health clinic while the other half will be used as a state-of-the-art health center for the city. South Philadelphia Library, DiSilvestro Playground and other recreational facilities at the site will also be rebuilt.

"Nowhere in the country have people integrated public and private sectors and all of these various functions -- library functions, recreational functions, health functions," said Schwarz. "If we think about promoting health for the community of South Philadelphia, think of the opportunity."

The city while not paying for the new facility will need to pay for a yet to be determined amount of costs related with the move.

While the new facility is being built, city physicians will relocate to CHOP's current facility at Broad and Snyder Streets to ensure services aren't interrupted.

The new facility gives a boost to the neighborhood, especially a community with a growing amount of young families.

"A lot of people that are moving here with kids, and I know that with the school system being the way it is, people are kind of weary about it. But I think this will help a lot," Said Keys.

It also will make people feel better, according to officials and residents.

"It'll make me happy, something new, something clean, something beautiful, something to look at, I’ve been waiting for long time for something like this to happen," said South Philly resident Stephanie Dykes.

Contact Dan Stamm at 610.668.5565, or follow @DanStamm on Twitter.

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