|With the exception of some paperwork issues, the new White Lake Clinic is ready for operation.|
Stakeholders in the project, including representatives of Northern Health Centers, Langlade Hospital and the village of White Lake toured the attractive facility on Monday afternoon with a consensus that the clinic is just the right size for a vibrant, forward-looking community
“This has been a dream of Joe Edelman for 25 years,” Langlade Hospital Administrator Dave Schneider said. “This will bring affordable, convenient health care to people throughout this area.”
“This took a long time, but it is certainly worth it,” Edelman, who served as village president for decades, said.
The project, over a quarter-century in the planning, is a joint effort between Langlade Hospital, which purchased the building and handled renovations, and Northern Health Center, which will staff it.
“There are a lot of people who are anxiously waiting for it to open,” Joe Grennel, the current village president, said, noting that he gets questioned on the progress on a daily basis.
Construction is completed, but, according to Shelly White, executive director of Northern Health Centers, the facility cannot be opened until federal approval is received.
White explained that since Northern Health Center is designated as a community health center, with a sliding fee scale, it must receive permission from its governing board, the Heath Resources Service Administration, before opening any new facilities
The recent federal government shutdown created a larger-than-normal backlog, she said, suggesting a timeline of between 60 days and six months for review and approval of the Change in Scope documents.
Until then the building will sit, waiting, she said.
The clinic features a reception area and lobby, nurse’s station, lab and three examination rooms. Initial plans call for it to be staffed three days a week, with a goal of having a provider on site five days a week.
Tom Boers, who supervised the renovations for Langlade Hospital, said that local contractors were used whenever possible. They included Tradewell Construction, Popelka Electric, Heinzen Plumbing & Heating, Jerome Filbrandt Plumbing & Heating, Stibbe Excavating and G&B Concrete.
The building has gone through many reconfigurations, as a boarding house, tavern, and a branch of the State Bank of Elcho. Most recently, it was operated by the White Lake Area Historical Society, which is now constructing a new building adjacent to its Wisconsin Central railroad depot.
White Lake has seen a resurgence in recent years, with stable employment at its major industry, Robbins Flooring, the volunteer efforts of its historical organization and other groups, and the creation of a recreation center at the expanded White Lake School, a project funded through referendum.
Schneider and White said the joint project demonstrates a strong commitment on behalf of Northern Health Centers and Langlade Hospital to the region.
“Everybody really cares about making sure we can provide quality care in the White Lake area,” Schneider said.
“We definitely have the same common goal,” White added.
Several of those involved in the White Lake Clinic met at the facility for a tour on Monday. From left are Northern Health Center’s Paal Hansen, board president, Shelly White, executive director, and Sarah Caley, director of operations; Angie Close, Langlade County Economic Development Corporation; Judy Peterson, White Lake Clinic Committee; Judi Popelka, Langlade County Board of Health and a White Lake resident; Joe Grennel, village board president; Joe Edelman, past village president; and Langlade Hospital’s Dave Schneider, executive director, and Tom Boers, operations.