Vance Clinic readies for $14 million renovation

  • Published
  • By David Poe
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- After serving more than a generation of troops and families, the Vance Clinic is readying for a $14 million renovation.

The renovation will improve systems and organize department spaces to offer 71st Medical Group healthcare providers top-tier modernizations to better serve their approximately 4,000 beneficiaries.

Starting in January, the two-year, three-phase project, contracted by United Excel Corporation of Merriam, Kansas, will see all of the group’s sections moved in phases to a Temporary Phasing Facility adjacent the current 36,000 square feet complex. 

Phase I will see the clinic’s main entrance close for renovations and access will shift to the west entrance. During this time Dental, Readiness, Referral Management, Humana, PEBLO, Resource Management, Information Systems and Logistics will be housed in the temporary facility.

According to United Excel Corporation, Vance’s Dental Lab will be one of three specific areas that will see a “maximized usable space” by the end of the project.

Phase II
Phase II is scheduled to begin in summer 2018. During this phase, Laboratory, Radiology, Family Health, Pediatrics, Immunizations and Medical Records will move to the temporary facility.

According to the 71st MDG, once the Radiology section closes, patients requiring radiology services will be referred off-base for the duration of the phase.

Once complete, Radiology and Laboratory will also see “maximized usable space” for healthcare providers by the end of the project.

Also during Phase II, 71st Medical Support Squadron Bioenvironmental Airmen and civilians will move into the clinic, better consolidating the 71st MDG leadership footprint. They currently work out of spaces on the northside of the installation.

Phase III
During Phase III, due to begin early in 2019, Public Health, Optometry, Flight Medicine, Special Needs and the Pharmacy will move to the temporary facility.

Phase-specific signage will be posted in and around the complex throughout the project to direct visitors to the temporary locations of the effected departments.

In addition to healthcare-based upgrades, exterior projects will see additional vehicle parking added and new landscaping for clinic green spaces and green spaces around the base park to offset the temporary facility construction’s impact. The temporary facility, which will be located north of the clinic and next to the Base Park, will be a conjoined unit made up of 13 structures that will share a south-facing main entrance.

Fire protection will be updated in the renovated clinic and Force Protection compliance will be bolstered with general parking being moved farther away from the building’s foundation. The 71st MDG said beneficiaries with mobility issues won’t be affected as handicapped parking and the clinic’s drop-off area will not be changed.

In additional to operational and mechanical upgrades, according to United Excel Corporation, clinic beneficiaries will notice new interior design that will reflect Vance’s surrounding environment in northern Oklahoma with homage to “green prairie plains and warm sunsets.”

Jay Hoth, the clinic facility manager, said while plans are in place and the temporary facility is already coming to life prior to the January start, the group knows that the project won’t likely be hassle-free for providers and beneficiaries alike.

“Someone may be being seen in Flight Medicine, but now they need to get an X-ray so now they need to come back to the main clinic -- we're going to have a prescription ready for you too, but the pharmacy is in the temporary facility,” Hoth said. “There's going to be a level of inconvenience at certain points.”

Lt. Col. James Payette, the 71st Medical Support Squadron commander, said based on past experience, he knows open communication among providers and between the clinic and its beneficiaries at all phases of the project will be an important priority.

“Our providers have been involved in the step-by-step progress,” he said. “They actually got to do a mock-up of the treatment rooms they'll have, and they know the layout of their equipment, so they'll be better prepared.

“Communication and expectation management will be important,” Payette said. “In the end, we will be upgrading not only to benefit the provider, but to also offer the best possible patient care we can.”