A little over six months ago, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Council and staff from the Health and Human Services department gathered on an empty lot adjacent to the Beeline Pit Stop, on the southwest corner of Highway 87 (Beeline Highway) and McDowell Road, to mark the groundbreaking of the Northeast Ambulatory Care Center (NEACC). On Thursday, July 23, the same people gathered for the topping-off ceremony for the NEACC.

Engineering and Construction Services Senior Construction Manager Joshua Sciacca led a tour of the site. Afterward, he and the visitors, who included SRPMIC President Martin Harvier, Council Representatives Thomas Largo and Deanna Scabby, and Administration staff, made their way to the front of the building to sign the final steel beam before it was lifted up into place. 

“The main trades we had on site over the last six to eight months have been our earthwork crews and the mechanical, electrical and plumbing crews doing the underground and infrastructure. Masonry, steel, concrete … [these crews] continue to finish that up,” said Sciacca, as he updated the guests on the progress of construction. “Today we took a quick tour of the facility. [Regarding the] interior construction progress, the metal framing and overhzead mechanical rough end has started in the first-floor primary care area. [That work] will continue on the first floor, jump up to the second and ultimately finish up on the third.”

The tour encompassed the first and second floors of the building. The first floor will house the primary-care area, laboratory, pharmacy, pediatrics, diabetes prevention and facilities management. The guests had the opportunity to see where the dental suite will be located on the second floor, with 27 open operatories and eight closed operatories. in addition, the second-floor services will include radiology (mammography and ultrasound) and specialty services such as podiatry and optometry. Behavioral health services will also be located on the second floor. The third floor will house the Health and Human Services administrative offices and a conference suite that will be used for training and classes. 

Following the tour, guests signed the steel beam before it was raised into position at the top of the building. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SRPMIC members and a number of HHS staff members could not be present, but that did not prevent them from taking part in the day. Previously, the HHS staff had asked people to write messages on stickers, and during the ceremony they placed all the stickers on the beam. 

“I want to thank the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community for allowing us to build this building for you and thank you for the work that you have provided, not only for us, but for our women and children. We thank you,” said Navajo ironworker Jesse Lee Edd as he and his crew attached the steel beam to the lifting hook to be lifted up to its final location. 

Council Representative Deanna Scabby expressed her happiness at the progression of the project, which will enhance the medical services available to SRPMIC members here in the Community. She explained that the NEACC has been a vision for many years and that Health and Human Services, Self-Governance and many other Community departments have worked hard to get to this point.

“I am very impressed with how fast it has gone up. It has been a great effort with all the people who have been involved with the construction and the architects. They really brought it together, and it looks like they are right on schedule,” said Health and Human Services Director Joe Remitera. “I think it’s going to be a wonderful place for people to come and receive world-class care for themselves and their families. What we really want to have is a one-stop shop, where people can come and get all their care [needs] met [without going to an] outside … hospital or an emergency department. I wish the Community [members] could have been here today to celebrate this momentous occasion. To the Community: We are here for you, and we believe in providing the best compassionate, quality care for you and your families. We wish you well during this time.”