SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION-TV)- A vision that was six years in the making came to reality on 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. primary care health center that is on 1500 Capitola Road.
The dental clinic will open on Monday Dec. 5 and the health center will open the next day on Tuesday Dec. 6.
There will also be a phase two of the project which 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.
In between both facilities is a public plaza and a native garden. There is also a public art installation that honors Awaswas people who first lived on the land.
Santa Cruz Community Health CEO Leslie Conner said that nearly 15 percent of Live Oak Elementary School students are homeless, 15,000 people do not have a doctor, and 78 percent of adults on Medi-Cal do not have a dentist. Conner echoed that this facility was long overdue and much needed for the community.
“Too many of our community’s most vulnerable are facing risks and adversities that pose lifelong threats to health, school success, and overall well-being," Conner said. "This project creates access to care that can change the trajectory for thousands."
Over $18 million dollars was raised in funding this project. Among the dignitaries at the ribbon cutting was U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta. Officals said Panetta helped get federal funding secured for this project.
Dientes Dental Group CEO Laura Marcus said that the project will help the Live Oak commuinty get the health care they need.
“We are incredibly grateful for those who have generously given so that others can have access to the health and dental care they need," Marcus said. "We are so proud of what we have built together."
To learn more about the project click here.