Dental and optometry departments now have a new place to call home. Dubbed the Taj Mahal by Chief Medical Officer, Michael Torres, the new tan-colored modular building located south of the Southern Ute Health Center is officially open following a ribbon cutting ceremony, Monday, June 2.
The new 4,000-square-foot modular houses 5 dental chairs, a larger lab, two-private dental offices and one high tech sterilization room. On the optometry side: two individual exam rooms and a eye glass display room – that has three to four more times the number of frames than before – and a shared waiting area.
The new facility will help alleviate the medical building, which has been operating at full capacity causing space issues.
“Space was so limited in the old clinic; it was hard to get everyone seen,” Chairman Clement J. Frost said. “Now, it’s going to be really effective and efficient for tribal members”
With dental and optometry moved out, the health center will begin its expansion; adding more exam rooms and increasing overall productivity, Torres said.
“We are doubling the capacity of the medical building,” Torres said. “We will be able to take care of more Southern Ute tribal members and that’s really what we’re here to do.”
The modular is a short-term facility with the ultimate goal being to get all medical facilities under the same roof, Vice Chairman Mel Baker said.
Councilman Aaron V. Torres acknowledged the new facility as a big step forward for tribal member health; moving the tribe one step closer to reaching a goal.
Interim Tribal Health Department Director, John Wodniak is new to the project but expressed his excitement for the new facility.
“It’s wonderful that the tribe has this new dental and vision clinic even if it is temporary: I would like to thank tribal council for their efforts,” Wodniak said.
Dental and optometry have called many places home throughout the past. Frost reminisced visiting the dentist in the Mouache Capote Building when he was young. While other council members remember receiving dental care in what is now the KSUT building.
Councilman Alex S. Cloud stressed that no matter where dental and optometry are located; the main goal is providing top services for the tribal membership.
During the relocation the dental and optical phone number has not changed. Patients can still call, 970-563-4719, for all their dental and optical needs.