Harris Health System will soon begin a $16 million renovation and expansion project to transform Harris Health Casa de Amigos Health Center into a ‘healthcare beacon’ in Houston’s historic Northside. Once completed, the 29,000-square-foot facility will include 3,000 more square feet of space, a new entrance and exterior.
The three-phase construction project will touch nearly 95% of the existing building at 1615 N. Main, allowing staff to continue treating patients throughout the renovation and construction schedule, which is expected to be completed April 2024.
“Harris Health System’s commitment to our community means investing in areas of great need to help and support the well-being of all our neighbors,” says Esmaeil Porsa, MD, president and CEO, Harris Health.
“We have finished a preliminary look at the expansion of Harris Health’s primary and specialty care services that includes expansion of existing locations like Casa de Amigos. Our main focus is meeting the needs of our community and establishing ourselves as healthcare beacons—with particular attention to high density areas of low income families for whom Harris Health is their only access to healthcare.”
Casa de Amigos is one of 18 current Harris Health primary and specialty-care health centers and serves an estimated 50,000 patient visits annually.
“Our patients in the Northside are deserving of a facility that can take care of all their primary and specialty care needs,” says Jennifer Small, AuD, MBA, executive vice president and administrator, Ambulatory Care Services, Harris Health. “We’re thrilled to be able to do this and still provide care to our community while the renovations are ongoing. This is a testament to the dedication of our staff and medical partners who work together to provide exceptional care to our community.”
A major change to the center will be its relocated main entrance to the north side of the building off Harrington Street. The entrance will be unobstructed by the Metro rail line located directly in front of the building on Main Street. The new entrance will be easier for patients and visitors using an adjacent parking lot or being picked up or dropped off at the center.
“It’s a new and polished look to the building that I think our patients and the community will really appreciate,” says Babak Zare, director, Construction Operations, Harris Health. “The renovation of the interior patient areas will improve the quality of patient care and enhance their overall experience in a freshly renovated and improved facility.”
On completion, the center will house 68 exam, consult and treatment rooms, as well as new lab, pharmacy, optometry and ultrasound areas. Additionally, services currently not located in the center like pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology and midwifery will now be located within the renovated building.
A tentative timeline for completion of phases:
• Phase 1—complete by March 2023
• Phase 2—complete by October 2023
• Phase 3—complete by April 2024
“We are constantly evaluating the areas we serve to maximize our presence and services,” Porsa adds. “We’re fortunate to be in a position to support this renovation and expansion project thanks in large part to the generosity of our county leaders and local taxpayers.”
Casa de Amigos began serving the Northside in the 1970s in a number of temporary locations that included a church before its permanent and current location in 1982. The center operates with 82 staff members including medical faculty from Baylor College of Medicine.