Birth center to break ground on new building

Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Juneau Family Birth Center hopes to get a lot of little shovels involved with the ground breaking Saturday at its new and permanent home on Hospital Drive.

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Little plastic shovels will be provided.

The event marks a significant growth and building ownership for the nine-year-old family health care center.

"Our current location has been a wonderful place to start," said Kaye Kanne, executive director of Juneau Family Birth Center. The new location expands into a "campus of midwifery, health care, social services and family support."

Kanne said the extra space would add yoga, prenatal and postpartum exercise classes, kids' activities and massage to the current health care and educational offerings.

The center provides family counseling, social workers, general practitioners and healthy-lifestyles classes on a sliding price scale. No one is denied service for the inability to pay, Kanne said.

Kanne expects the $3 million project to be complete in May.

"We've been raising funds for five years," she said.

The Denali Commission and the Alaska Legislature are the top donors, providing $1.2 million and $450,000 respectively. The city provided $20,000, and Kanne said local business and private donors gave $97,000 for the project.

The new center will have twice as many exam rooms for doctors and midwives. The current family practitioner is at capacity and the center is crammed for space. Kanne said more room would allow the center to grow.

The center delivers nearly 70 babies a year and expects to continue at that pace in its new digs. Delivering babies is just part of what the center does, Kanne said.

"The biggest change is owning the building," Kanne said. With ownership comes permanency, she said.

• Contact Greg Skinner at 523-2258, or greg.skinner@juneauempire.com.



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