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Investors say doctors, community will be well served by new building

p11 office    COLUMBIA — One of three investors partnering with a local developer on a $13 million medical office building said the group is excited about expanding a doctors’ practice that has grown successfully in Waterloo.
    The three medical-field professionals — one of whom is a doctor — are connected to Progressive Family Care, a medical practice that operates through Southern Illinois Center for Health in Waterloo and a satellite outreach location in Columbia.
    “We’ve grown to three family physicians — one pediatrician. Then we have one pediatric nurse practitioner and three family medicine nurse practitioners and physician assistants. There are eight of us total,” said Dr. Michael Kirk, a primary care physician who serves as spokesman for the investors.
    “We have a two-operating room surgery center, a multispecialty clinic with an imaging center and a soon- to-be-completed dialysis center. In 2007, we went into the Columbia location to support the Waterloo office. That was our first satellite outreach in Monroe County, and frankly it’s been very successful. We need more space.”
    The doctors are going to add at least a couple more family physicians and possibly two mid-level practitioners as well, Kirk said. “We’re going to take a nice chunk of space in that new building for primary care.” .
    “Our plan is to have two of the floors occupied by medical clinic practices and/or medically-related businesses. We’re pretty much on target to have that, too. The site development is the biggest hurdle right now,” he said, referring to the hillside location along Sand Bank Road. “Once we’ve figured out how to get that foundation stabilized, then it’s off to the races.”
    Monroe County has “impressive demographics in terms of growth,” Kirk said. “It fits nicely for a primary care group that has a strong pediatric presence, in addition to the adult medicine. Columbia still remains an area where a lot of patients still cross the river (to St. Louis) for their primary care services. Since we’ve opened our clinic in Columbia we’ve enjoyed tremendous growth and feel there is plenty more growth justified in going in with 4,100 square feet.”
    Kirk’s group holds a 50 percent stake; the other 50 is held by businessman Joe Koppeis, a longtime Columbia commercial developer.
    Kirk described himself as the “physician investor.” He wasn’t comfortable, he said, identifying the two others without their permission.
    He stressed that the Columbia operation will only complement the existing practice, he said.
    “This certainly adds to what we’ve done in Waterloo. I’ve been here 19 years. We started primary care with Southern Illinois Center for Health in 1995. Seven years ago, we started Progressive Family Care. It moves us in the direction where we feel the greatest need for the county is. Our mission is to provide top-notch primary care in multi-specialty services so we can start to get people to realize that you don’t have to cross the river to get that quality of care.”
    As to what will be located in the new building, he said, “Initially, coming out of the block,  it will just be professional medical offices.”
    Kirk came to this area by way of schooling at the University of Kansas. He did his residency in Augusta, Ga., where he met Dr. Jay Pickett, a Southern Illinois native who is also a family physician at Southern Illinois Center for Health.

IBJ Business News

Meetings to discuss protected corridor for highway

    A pair of public meetings will be held this month to discuss the existing protected corridor set aside for the so-called Gateway Connector, a 37-mile-long highway envisioned to run between Interstate 55/70 and U.S. 40 in Madison County and Interstate 255 and Illinois Route 3 in Monroe County.
    The hearings will discuss the viability and feasibility of the corridor. The Illinois Department of Transportation has not moved forward on the highway in the 10 years since the corridor was first established, which triggered a requirement for the latest hearings.
    The hearings are 4 to 7 p.m.:
    – Wednesday, Dec.10, at the Falls Reception and Conference Center, 300 Admiral Weinel Blvd., Columbia; and
    – Thursday, Dec. 11, at the Regency Conference Center, 400 Regency Park, O’Fallon, Ill.
    There will be no formal presentation, but citizens and public officials will have the chance to discuss the protected corridor and review maps and exhibits.


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