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Ferrell-Duncan plans $6 million expansion

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

A $6 million expansion is planned for the Ferrell-Duncan Clinic, a result, its administrator says, of demand for physicians in Springfield.

"Our demand has not decreased in the more than 10 years we've been at this location. We continue to see a steady need and a steady growth," said Charles McCracken, administrator of the Ferrell-Duncan Clinic.

The clinic's building at 1001 E. Primrose was completed in 1986 and was three floors at the time. Two additional floors were completed in the early 1990s, McCracken said, and this $6 million addition will add a new wing to the complex. The addition will bring 68,000 square feet of space to the clinic.

The new five-story addition will have only three completed floors initially, but the clinic will have the option of finishing the fourth and fifth floors when it needs that space, McCracken said.

The clinic will lease the space to Cox Health Systems for doctors' offices, McCracken said. Ferrell-Duncan has a professional services agreement with Cox and will lease the land for the expansion from the health system. Ferrell-Duncan's building is physician-owned, owned by the Ferrell-Duncan Building Company, and the clinic owns the land the building and parking lot now sit on, McCracken said.

Though the contract for the project has not yet been awarded to a general contractor, McCracken said he hopes to see ground broken and the project under way in the next 30 days.

He added that completion is expected in about 18 months.

Ferrell-Duncan Clinic, named for its two founding doctors, opened in 1946. The clinic has had several locations, the one prior to the Primrose location was on East Sunshine, McCracken said. The clinic is currently home to 84 physicians who practice in 17 different areas of specialty, McCracken said.

"Our areas of practice range from family practice to cardiovascular surgery. We've always tried to maintain a good mix of physicians in a variety of practice areas," McCracken said.

Some of its 84 physicians are not currently in the clinic, but are in other locations.

Two of those groups, a surgical group and an ear, nose and throat clinic, will come into the expanded facility.

The expansion will allow Ferrell-Duncan to add 52 physicians to its clinic.

"We will have plenty of space for new recruits to the clinic," McCracken said.

Grove Pharmacy, which rents space on the first floor of the clinic, will also gain some more space, as will the clinic's ancillary services such as its laboratory and X-ray areas.

The added room will help to "handle the expanded volume anticipated with the growth of the number of physicians," McCracken said.

The Ferrell-Duncan Clinic sees about 100,000 patients annually, McCracken said.

The building as it is now is 110,000 square feet. An expansion of the facility's parking lot is planned as well.

Through its professional services agreement with Cox, the clinic's physicians have a responsibility and obligation to provide services to managed-care patients who use the Cox system.

"We are closely aligned to the Cox system, and our physicians participate in those managed care products," McCracken said.

Ferrell-Duncan Clinic needs to expand now for a variety of reasons, one of which is the demand for physicians in the area because of increasing population.

McCracken pointed to other factors, including those associated with the popularity of health maintenance organizations.

"The primary-care area remains strong because of the HMO products that are being used by a number of people in the community," McCracken said.

McCracken said the financing for the construction portion of the project is in place. Sam Winn and Associates is the architect for the project. The bids for the construction have come in, and a contract should be awarded shortly, McCracken said.

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