Kaiser Coughs Up $1M for Green Health Clinic

SAN DIEGO, CA — A $1 million grant from Kaiser Permanente helped to construct a community health clinic that could be the first of its kind to earn LEED certification.

The newest La Maestra Community Health Center located in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego will sport a slew of green features expected to earn the facility a LEED Gold certification. Project designers had a goal of constructing a building that would play many roles: Aside from providing a high level of comfort and using less energy, the building would also serve to introduce the concept of green building to the community.

Green elements include high performance insulated glass, a rooftop solar photovoltaic array expected to generate 15 percent of its energy needs, recycled materials, energy management system, and materials with low volatile organic compounds. The site was the building was chosen for its solar orientation and prevailing breezes. A high-efficiency landscape irrigation system was installed, in addition to drought resistant and native plants.

Kaiser wasn't the only corporate donor to the $24 million project, but the $1 million grant from Kaiser was the largest single donor grant La Maestra has ever received. Anthem Blue Cross, Bank of America and San Diego Gas and Electric also contributed funds or bond financing through their various programs or foundations. Additional contributors included Price Charities, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources, The Parker Foundation, The Robert Wood Foundation, and the Tides Foundation.

The 36,440 square foot clinic is expected to accommodate 180,000 patient and client visits annually in what La Maestra called one of the most ethnically diverse communities in the country.

“No longer must we believe that underserved neighborhoods are exempt from the highest standards of green architecture design and environmentally friendly programs,” Zara Marselian, La Maestra's chief executive officer, said in a statement Friday. "La Maestra and the City Heights community are proving that neighborhoods that care about their future and their environment can make a lasting difference for everyone.”

Image courtesy of La Maestra Community Health Centers.