DAVIDSON – Workers put some of the final touches on a renovation project at the Ada Jenkins Center May 12 to better serve patients of the free medical programs and offer private meeting areas.

Thanks to the contributions from the Rotary Clubs of North Mecklenburg and Davidson and other businesses, five offices and a waiting area were constructed from a large, open room that previously housed the food pantry before it was relocated in the Davidson center. A ribbon cutting was held May 13.

Richard Pappas, foundation director for the Rotary Club of North Mecklenburg, said the renovation project started last year after club members decided to back it through fundraising and grants.

It went along with Rotary International’s mission because of the humanitarian nature of Ada Jenkins, helping with food, education and healthcare, among other initiatives to support the community.

“The projects are to do meaningful community work,” Pappas said of what they look for. “At Ada Jenkins, we came across the weekly free clinic, and it was just an open space with business cubicles.”

Ada Jenkins offers weekly medical services to those who don’t have insurance and are unable to get care elsewhere to alleviate them going to the emergency room for nonemergencies. Specialty doctors, like gynecologists, also have times when they come to the clinic. The center also has a dental bus that is used throughout the region, though volunteer dentists and hygienists routinely have days where they meet at the center to offer adult screenings.

Pappas said the center had to provide healthcare services with people sitting on desks and in rooms with no locks, which he said was “not a humane way to do healthcare.”

Plus, said Ada Jenkins Operations Director Tamara Roach, anyone using the offices for administrative work would have to clear out during appointments. The newly renovated space will give staff an opportunity to have more places to meet and give patients more privacy. The offices will be multi-purpose and used by case managers and social workers, the agencies who serve people through the center and other volunteers.

In addition to the 3,000 medical and dental patients they have, the new area “benefits an untold number of people,” Roach said.

Ada Jenkins Director Georgia Krueger, a former Rotarian and an honorary member, met with Pappas, North Mecklenburg Rotary Community Service Director Sue Falcone and North Mecklenburg Rotary President David Keith. They also joined forces with Don Morris, president of the Rotary Club of Davidson, when they realized what an undertaking it would be.

Thanks to $12,500 in matching funds from a Rotary District 7680 grant and fundraising, the group was able to provide the original cost estimate of $25,000. But the project became bigger than initially expected, with an overall value of more than $55,000. It included new walls, dropping the ceiling, adding lighting, installing the only air conditioner in the building, furnishing plumbing and sinks in each room and new electrical work. But that didn’t deter the group from seeing the project to completion.

The club raised 25 percent more this year in the annual golf tournament and solicited private donations. 

Other community businesses, including Ogle Hardwood, Newton Construction Services, JVC Construction, Ingersoll Rand/Trane USA, Woodard Plumbing, Hinson Electrical Contractors and Bulldog Roofing, got involved and provided construction work, offering discounts or other deals.

“We planned on serving the need to renovate part of the facility,” Pappas said. “We set out what we wanted to do and decided we would do whatever we needed to get it done.”