SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION-TV) – A vision six years in the making became reality Saturday morning.
Dientes Dental and Santa Cruz Community Health held a ribbon cutting of the completion of a new dental clinic and a 20,000 sq. ft. ft. primary care health center located at 1500 Capitola Road.
The dental clinic opens on Monday 5 December and the health center opens the following day on Tuesday 6 December.
There will also be a phase two of the project that includes 57 affordable housing units. The housing project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023.
Officials say the dental clinic will serve 6,000 low-income patients a year and the health center will serve 10,000 patients a year. The dental clinic will be an 11-chair facility.
Between both facilities is a public square and a native garden. There is also a public art installation honoring Awaswas people who first lived on the land.
Santa Cruz Community Health CEO Leslie Conner said nearly 15 percent of Live Oak Elementary students are homeless, 15,000 people don’t have a doctor, and 78 percent of adults on Medi-Cal don’t have a dentist . Conner said that this facility is long overdue and much needed by the community.
“Too many of our community’s most vulnerable face risks and adversities that pose lifelong threats to health, school success and overall well-being,” Conner said. “This project creates access to care that could change the trajectory for thousands.”
More than $18 million dollars was raised to fund this project. Among the dignitaries at the ribbon cutting were US Rep. Jimmy Panetta. Officials said Panetta helped secure federal funding for this project.
Dientes Dental Group CEO Laura Marcus said the project will help the Live Oak community get the health care they need.
“We are incredibly grateful to those who have given generously so others can have access to the health and dental care they need,” Marcus said. “We are so proud of what we have built together.”
Click here to learn more about the project.