PCHC to receive loan to purchase Bangor building

Posted Jan. 13, 2011, at 7:56 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Penobscot Community Health Center’s Union Street campus is about to grow thanks to a low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud announced Thursday.

PCHC is going to use the $2,635,000 loan to purchase a building that it now leases from Tom Valley of Hilltop Inc., the Rev. Bob Carlson, president of PCHC, said Thursday.

A People’s United Bank branch is situated at one end of the building and will remain, as will a tanning salon, he said.

“The reason we want to buy this is to develop the entire campus into an integrated health care system,” he said. “It’s going to allow us to have expanded services. It’s very exciting for us.”

Speech and audiology offices, as well as specialty services, eventually will be housed in the building, which will be purchased through the USDA’s Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program.

“The Penobscot Community Health Center has been nationally recognized for its excellence in medical services and it plays an essential role in providing affordable health care to the Bangor area,” Michaud said in a statement. “This USDA investment not only helps the health center provide quality, affordable health care, but it will also help retain much-needed jobs.”

Carlson said he wasn’t sure of the exact interest rate on the $2.6 million loan, but he said it is very low.

Virginia Manuel, USDA Rural Development’s state director, said in a statement that she was pleased that Rural Development could provide the loan guarantee to support PCHC.

“Quality health care is at the heart of creating and sustaining vibrant rural Maine communities, and we are pleased to partner with Katahdin Trust Co. to fund this essential community facility,” she said.

Thursday’s loan announcement comes on the heels of news that PCHC will expand its Union Street dental facility, increasing the number of patient chairs from 27 to 43, Carlson said. He said he is amazed with how the PCHC campus has grown since its start in 1997.

“When you think about 13 years ago, we were in building one and we had six exam rooms and one doctor, one part-time nurse practitioner and four employees,” Carlson said. “Now we have just over 500 employees and just shy of 50,000 patients.”

PCHC now occupies four buildings at its Union Street campus.

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