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Expansion to Maliheh Free Clinic Underway

May 20, 2011

An expansion to the Maliheh Free Clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah officially broke ground on a rainy morning May 19, 2011. The Semnani Family Foundation, the I.J. and Jeanne Wagner Foundation and Layton Construction Co., Inc., as well as dozens of corporations, foundations and individuals in the community, united to support the project. Interior Construction Specialists, Layton Construction's business unit that specializes in tenant improvement and remodel/renovation work, will complete the expansion, which is expected to be complete in August.

The Maliheh Free Clinic, founded and funded by the Semnani Family Foundation, opened in 2005. The clinic is staffed by volunteer physicians, doctors and nurses who provide free medical services to 80-100 patients each day who are poor or underinsured.

"[The clinic] provides medical care for people in our community who otherwise would not have access," Scott Browning, chairman of the clinic's board of directors, said at the groundbreaking, which he jokingly called the "mud reallocation ceremony."

According to Jeanie Ashby, executive director of the Maliheh Free Clinic, doctors and volunteers have donated more than 80,000 hours to serve more than 90,000 patient visits since the facility opened. Demand for services at the clinic has outgrown its current facility--more than 16,000 patients visited the clinic last year, an increase of 60 percent from the clinic's first full year of operation. The clinic expanded its hours to serve additional patients but barely made a dent in its waiting list.

"That left us with only one choice: turning down patients or expanding the clinic," Ashby said. "Thanks to the sustained support of our doctors, volunteers and sponsors, the choice was obvious. We chose service."

Expansion work will include the addition of three examination rooms, bringing the total number of exam rooms in the clinic to eight, as well as a new waiting area and family restroom. The expansion will also enhance the level of privacy and quality provided at the clinic.

Construction will take place in stages, allowing the clinic to remain operational throughout the expansion and remodeling process. Construction of the exterior portion of the expansion is scheduled to be complete in July, after which interior renovations will be made to visually incorporate the additions.

"Our intent is that this will look seamless," David S. Layton, Layton's president and CEO, said.

According to Layton, nearly half of the project's cost has been donated by organizations in the construction industry, mirroring the volunteer effort that goes into running the clinic.

"These are some of the finest, classiest people I have ever met. The very effort that goes on within these walls is a result of people giving back," Layton said.

"We are delighted to be able to mark this occasion," Khosrow B. Semnani, founder of the Maliheh Free Clinic, said. "The expansion of the clinic is a measure of the health, compassion and solidarity of our community. We are grateful to the I.J. and Jeanne Wagner Foundation and Layton Construction for their commitment to the health of all our patients. We are turning a vision into reality and making healthcare more accessible one brick at a time."

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