Nonprofit could sign 10-year lease to use
former Bradford Clinic
by Josh Whitener
The nonprofit Matthews Free Medical Clinic could more
than double its space by spring.
The Town of Matthews has been working with the free
clinic for the past two months on an agreement that would
lease the town-owned former Bradford Clinic building, 196
S. Trade St., to the clinic for up to 10 years. Town commissioners
discussed the lease at their Monday, Oct. 8, meeting
and could vote on the issue at their Oct. 22 meeting. If the
town approves the lease, the clinic expects to be in its new space by March.
The Matthews Free Medical Clinic
treats local uninsured patients and
operates out of a 1,400-square-foot
house at 113 N. Ames St. with limited
office space, one exam room and a walkin
closet that doubles as a pharmacy.
The recession and subsequent rise in
unemployment has generated a dramatic
increase in clinic patients. From
2008 to 2011, the number of patients
treated grew from about 1,400 annually
to more than 3,000 annually – and the
clinic doesn’t have the space to accommodate
such exponential growth.
The free clinic began looking for a
new space earlier this year following
an $80,000 expansion grant it received
from Presbyterian Hospital Matthews
and Matthews-based Elevation Church.
In March, the nonprofit Matthews
HELP Center purchased the .46 acres
where the clinic is currently located
for $150,000, giving the free clinic 18
months to find a new home.
Amy Carr, the nonprofit’s executive
director, said the Bradford Clinic space
is exactly what the free clinic is looking
for to meet their growing needs. The
proposed 10-year lease would give the
free clinic about 3,200 square feet of
space to expand its services and reach
more residents in need.
The new free clinic would have five
exam rooms, an expanded waiting area
and conference room, more room for
counseling, a bigger pharmacy and the
addition of closed-off office spaces.
“Right now, (physicians) can’t volunteer
at the same time as someone else
because we only have one exam room,”
Carr said. “The more volunteer providers
we have, the more patients we can
According to the proposal, the nonprofit
would pay $4.50 per square foot
each month. The free clinic has proposed
paying $165,145 in renovations
to the building and of that $143,105
could be used as a credit for the lease,
according to George Fossett, a contractor
with The Construction Institute,
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who has been working with the town.
Because Matthews would be the landlord,
the town would have to assume
maintenance responsibilities for the
facility, including covering capital needs
exceeding $2,500. The town also would
incur the costs of hiring a construction
manager to oversee the renovations.
During discussion Monday, town
commissioners were concerned whether
the town still would be able to use the
facility as an early voting site during
presidential elections. The building will
be used for early voting this year and
some commissioners want to make sure
that’s an option for the future.
“About the Bradford Clinic being the
early voting site, we need to figure out
some way of getting that in the lease,”
Commissioner Suzanne Gulley said.
“In four more years, we’re still going to
need that for early voting, and it concerns
me because the library and the
town hall area just cannot support the
early voting for presidential elections.”
Mayor Jim Taylor agreed.
“It’s a two-week period, we don’t need
the whole building (and) the town may
not actually even utilize the building,
but I think it’s in the town’s best interest
to have that option available,” he
said. “It’s the town’s building. The town
paid for that building, and for us not to
have access to (an) early voting facility
… I think, is doing an injustice to the
Although she’s not sure how the early
voting issue will be solved, Carr said
she’s confident the free clinic and the
town can reach an agreement.
“I believe the town and the clinic will
be able to work together to find a common
term of agreement,” she said. “We
want to be as accommodating as possible
to the town and would consider
any proposals. I don’t feel like (the
early voting issue) is going to be a deal
Carr said the free clinic hopes to use
the additional space and a $23,000
grant received from Oktoberfest last
month to expand its diabetes program
through more opportunities for education