Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center Opens Renovated Facility

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Connecticut Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz.

 ANSONIA — A ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday celebrated a bigger and better Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center on Wakelee Avenue.

The work increased space at the medical facility from 2,300 to 15,000 square feet.

The Richard O. Belden Dental Clinic relocated from Elizabeth Street in Derby to move into the larger space. A small house in front of the 121 Wakelee Ave. property was demolished, making the health care facility more visible from the street.

Michael R. Taylor, the CEO of CS-HHC, said the pre-renovation building’s layout had a lot of space deficiencies, so his staff worked with architects to tailor it to medical needs. Then the building was gutted and renovated.

“It was highly inefficient for our purposes,” he said. “We made use of every square inch.”

Taylor praised the work of the architect from Svigals & Partners LLP, a New Haven firm, and the contractor, Primrose Co. Inc., of Bridgeport.

The front entrance opens up to a spacious waiting room. There is a new break room for employees, there are exam rooms, a dental wing with fully equipped offices and behavioral services takes up one side of the building with counseling rooms off the hallway.

CS-HHC has a total of 550 staffers for behavioral health at its 23 sites, making it the largest behavioral services provider in Southern Connecticut.

“There’s a tremendous need for it,” Taylor said.

A conference room is available for group sessions among doctors, dentists and other staffers.

The walls are cream colored throughout.

“I’m really impressed with the new car smell,” Dr. Michael Couturie joked about being in the newly renovated space. “We’re all talking about the warmer colors here. It’s really better than the plain, white sterile.”

Dr. Couturie said he also likes how the medical and behavioral health teams have access to each other.

A Special Say

A large crowd gathered under a tent on the Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center’s grounds late Friday morning, as Taylor and local and state officials took turns at the podium.

“This is a special day for us,” Taylor said, recalling how eight years ago, he and fellow staffers imagined what the facility could be. “It truly is astounding that this vision is now a reality, but it happens with help from a lot of people.”

Taylor thanked state and federal officials for their support. Among those attending the ceremony were Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, State Sen. George Logan, R-Ansonia, and state representatives Kara Rochelle, D-104th, Themis Klarides, R-114, Nicole Klarides-Ditria, R-105th, and Juan Candelaria, D-95th.

Representatives from the offices of U.S. Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Connecticut, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, were in attendance, as well as Ansonia Mayor David S. Cassetti and Bill Purcell, president of the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Cassetti said Ansonia is going through a renaissance and the renovated facility will complement the growing medical corridor on Wakelee Avenue.

Bysiewicz recalled how CS-HHC became the first federally qualified community health center in Connecticut, improving access to care for thousands of state residents regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

Founded in 1968, the Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center serves 34,000 patients throughout the Greater New Haven and Lower Naugatuck Valley areas each year.

The Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center is especially important for people not making a ton of money. No one is refused care. The operation is nonprofit.

“We are so happy you are here to provide state-of-the-art medical, dental and behavioral care,” Bysiewicz said. “We appreciate your leadership on the opioid crisis. The governor and I congratulate you on the grand opening.”

Rochelle said Ansonia is one of the communities ravaged by the opioid crisis, adding she lost 12 people from her high school class. She praised CS-HHC for its role in combating the national epidemic.

“You are in town and helping people to bring lives back to where they should be,” Rochelle said.

“Congratulations on this amazing center,” said Klarides-Ditria, praising the services it provides.

Klarides spoke of the legacy of the late state representative Richard O. Belden, the dental clinic’s namesake, and said the state delegation will support CS-HHC any way they can.

Logan said he has a place in his heart for the community health center, which provides care for family members, some of whom work there.

“We are proud to support the health center and celebrate the completion of this project, which represents a significant milestone for our community,” Purcell said. “The link between a community’s health and the vitality of its businesses and workforce is inextricable. When it comes to community health and well-being, the return on investment can be seen in quality of life and the bottom line.”