Health center eyes campaign

CHECK PRESENTATION — A $5,000 donation by Anthony Mougianis and Tara Dzvonick of Apollo Professional Cleaning and Restoration has jumpstarted the capital campaign for renovations to transform the former Neighborhood House Daycare Center into the new downtown location for the Ohio Valley Health Center. On hand for the recent presentation outside the building on South Street, Steubenville, were, from left, Keith Murdock, center board member; Francesca Carinci, board president; Tom Timmons, board treasurer; Trudy Wilson, center executive director; and Dzvonick and Mougianis. -- Janice Kiaski

STEUBENVILLE — An effort to transform the former Neighborhood House Day Care Center into the new home for the Ohio Valley Health Center is in the works.

A capital campaign to raise $250,000 for renovations got a jumpstart with a recent $5,000 donation from Anthony Mougianis and Tara Dzvonick of Apollo Professional Cleaning and Restoration, co-chairs of the center’s annual fundraising gala held April 23 at St. Florian Hall.

The gala was occasion for the surprise announcement of the purchase of the former Neighborhood House located at 423 South St., Steubenville, a move that will return the center to the downtown.

Representatives of the center gathered recently at the new location-to-be for a formal check presentation, including Trudy Wilson, the center’s executive director.

“We are jumpstarting a capital campaign to raise $250,000 to renovate the inside of this building,” Wilson said. “It’s not that the building is in bad shape — it’s in good shape, but it’s a day care,” she added.

“We are planning a capital campaign, we are working on getting some grant funding, and we will bring the capital campaign to the community,” Wilson said. “We want the community to be a part of what we’re doing to help revitalize downtown. We will begin working on construction as soon as possible. We’re very excited for what the future holds for the Ohio Valley Health Center. We look forward to expanding our programs and offering additional services. We are anxious to get phase 1 of our future expansion completed to become a greater help in Jefferson County and the entire Ohio Valley,” Wilson said.

The Neighborhood House, the longest operating daycare and preschool in Jefferson County, closed its doors March 1. The nonprofit organization and member agency of the United Way of Jefferson County became a licensed daycare facility during the 1960s. It originally was established more than 80 years ago, however, at a different location as an aid to country newcomers, helping immigrants coming to Steubenville get acclimated to their new surroundings and learn the English language.

“We need to put in extra plumbing and build exam rooms and put some more office space here in the center of the building, and we just need to transition it from a daycare to a health care facility,” Wilson said of the work to be done.

The timetable for the center’s relocation back to the downtown “depends on how quickly we can raise the capital, but I am hoping to be in before the end of this year,” Wilson said.

The center is located in the Ross Park Professional Building of Trinity Medical Center East, 380 Summit Ave., where it is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. It has been there three years, having moved from its original location at 701 N. Fourth St., Steubenville, after the roof started leaking from a buildup of snow and ice.

“This is going to increase our space. We’ll be able to see more people, and it’s going to increase the access to care aspect, and we want to eliminate as many barriers to care as we can,” Wilson said, citing transportation as one of those barriers.

“We’re going to work with SVRTA (Steel Valley Regional Transit Authority) to make sure we’re very close on a bus route so our patients can step right off the bus and be by the building,” she said. “We have patients who walk up the big hill — that’s a barrier to have to go up the hill to get to the hospital,” she said of patients walking from the downtown to Trinity East.

“We want to be back down here where we’re closer to other service organizations, and we want to develop stronger ties with those organizations as well to provide continuity of care, not only health care, but to meet the basic needs like food and shelter and clothing and just general assistance and that’s where most of the organizations are,” Wilson said.

Francesca Carinci, president of the health center’s board of directors, said community help to transform the building from daycare use to clinic status would be appreciated.

“I am pleading to the trades unions and the contractors out there to help us,” Carinci said. “We have a beautiful building, but it needs partitioning and plumbing to make exam rooms,” Carinci said. “This is such a blessing because we do not need to repair, just make it practical for the medical personnel to help the patients. We have come so far, and we are incredibly grateful for the support we have received.”

Carinci said the health center is vital to the community.

“Please help us help those who need medical care,” she said. “We will begin our campaign soon to raise the funds to get this new center open and running. Any help people can give the clinic goes back into our community and makes us stronger. Our gala was very successful this year, and that will keep the place running and purchase medications and other necessities for our patients. We are calling out to everyone to help the center serve our people,” she said.

“Our people are your family. Someone you know and love was likely helped by the center at one point,” Carinci said. “We continue to operate out of Trinity East; however, we want to get our new building open for business. The people continue to be served by our incredibly generous medical staff who volunteer their time. We want to make a convenient place for the people we serve,” Carinci said.

Anyone interested in making a donation can make a check payable to OVHC and mail it to One Ross Park, Suite 202, Steubenville, OH 43952. Questions can be directed to Wilson at (740) 283-2856.

(Kiaski can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)

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