Community Health Centers of Burlington celebrates with grand opening

Community Health Centers of Burlington’s official ribbon cutters: Mayor Miro Weinberger; Vermont Congressman Peter Welch; United States Senator Bernie Sanders; Dr. Peter Stern of Shelburne; CHCB Executive Director Jack Donnelly; United States Senator Patrick Leahy; Mrs. Margie Stern of Shelburne; CHCB Medical Director Dr. Patti Fisher; CHCB Board President Dr. Peter Gunther. Photo by Jonathan Couture Photography

Officially proclaimed “Community Health Center Day” by Burlington’s Mayor Miro Weinberger, Monday, June 18 was the Community Health Centers of Burlington’s (CHCB) Grand Opening. An excited crowd of community residents,  businesses, CHCB donors, supporters and staff gathered together to celebrate a dream come true and the official Grand Opening of CHCB’s new Riverside Health Center facility.  This momentous occasion was marked by moving speeches made by United States Senator Patrick Leahy; United States Senator Bernie Sanders; Vermont Congressman Peter Welch; City of Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger; CHCB Board President Dr. Peter Gunther; ReArch President John Illick; CHCB Medical Director Dr. Patti Fisher; and CHCB Executive Director Jack Donnelly. Many thanks were made to all who helped make this project possible. Among those recognized during the ceremony were project architects Freeman, French, Freeman, construction project management company ReArch, CHCB’s Building Team and staff, former CHCB Executive Director Joe Arioli; the very special donors whose donations to the Heart of Health Care campaign helped CHCB meet the financial match required by the competitive grant to complete the Gateway Project and the many donors over the years who have been the foundation of CHCB’s mission.

The grand opening celebration kicked off at 10 am with a formal program and ceremonial ribbon cutting with tours of the new facility and light refreshments following. With over 100 people in attendance, the event was truly a day to remember and marks the beginning of CHCB’s next chapter of service to the community.

The Gateway Project was an $11 million dollar construction project that put to work a general contracting firm, architects, 38 subcontracting companies, and five engineering firms, 99 percent of them local Vermont firms. Their $11 million project was estimated to bring $17 million worth of economic activity back into the community. CHCB is also a major employer, with 135 staff working at five different sites in our region.  The new facility is a LEED Certified “green” facility and has approximately doubled the size of the previous building greatly increasing the availability of cost-effective primary care to Vermont’s most populated region.  The CHCB’s new Riverside Health Center building expanded the number of medical exam rooms from 18 to 26, dental operatories from eight to 12 and counseling rooms from four to nine.

Major funding for the Gateway Project came from the Federal Facility Improvement Project (FIP) for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC).  CHCB competed nationally for these funds with Federally Qualified Health Centers across the country. This funding was extremely competitive, with only 85 awards given out of 600 applicants.  HRSA expected to award approximately $500 million dollars and had over $3 billion in requests.

CHCB’s funding award is a testimony to both the need and opportunity in Burlington. CHCB is the only FQHC serving Chittenden County, caring for approximately 14,000 patients annually. With this new building, CHCB has the opportunity to positively impact the patient accessibility of the regional health system for many years to come.

For more information, contact Alison Calderara at or call (802) 264-8190.


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