PCC Austin Family Health Center

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
335 N. Mason

335 N. Mason

335 N. Mason, Chicago, IL 60644 map

PCC Community Wellness Center

Manske, Dieckmann, Thompson

General Contractor
Kingdom Community/Madison Construction

By Sharon Hoyer

The PCC Community Wellness Center is a non-profit network of health care providers who have provided affordable health care to underserved westside communities for over 25 years. With the construction of the new Austin Family Health Center, essential services like pediatric care, diagnostic testing, women’s health care, HIV testing and family planning will be offered in a building that is healthier for staff, visitors and the environment. The 18,000 square-foot facility, slated to open in the summer of 2009, will provide care for up to 32,000 patients each year and will have 15 examination rooms, increasing current PCC capacity by 150%.

On the interior, the Austin Family Health Center will feature ground-source heating and cooling, energy recovery ventilators to temper fresh air with heat from exhausted air and low-VOC paints and sealants for better indoor air quality. Water for the public restrooms will be heated by a solar thermal system and stall partitions will be constructed from the plastic of recycled milk jugs. Architect Patrick Thompson chose Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) as the optimal insulation on the second floor. SIPs are rigid insulating substrate layers that eliminate the heat loss that occurs with traditional metal stud construction. Low-E glazed windows will reduce energy conductivity and radiation.

Outside, a green roof will control stormwater runoff and reduce urban heat island effects. A small wetland constructed in the center of the parking lot will provide further stormwater control; all landscaping features drought-tolerant native plants that require no irrigation.

The project received its permit through the Chicago Green Building Permit program and is seeking LEED®-silver certification or higher. Support for the center has come from the local, city and state levels. PCC Community Wellness purchased the land from the City of Chicago for one dollar subject to obligations to build a LEED® certified building . PCC obtained a loan at a reduced interest rate through a pilot program offered by Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias’s office. This new Green Energy program provides low-interest loans for the installation of energy-efficient equipment; PCC Community Wellness Center is the first recipient to utilize this type of loan for green building. Additional funding came in the form of a $100,000 grant from Illinois Clean Energy.

Marty McCarthy of Madison Construction says that the project has also received tremendous support from the neighborhood as well as from pastor John T. Abercrombie and Kingdom Community—a church and social services organization providing rehabilitation and guidance to the community.

The Austin Family Health Center is one of nine facilities in the PCC network and the first seeking LEED® certification.

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