The Eastside Neighborhood Clinic opened Thursday at 4 p.m. at 915 North Milpas Street. Approximately 100 people showed up for hors d’oeuvers, wine, music, free tours and a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Marty Blum.

The clinic is part of the Investing In A Healthy Community capital campaign, which has so far raised $2.4 million over the past year for the new medical facility. As a result, more than 8,000 low-income patients should still have affordable health care when the 20-year-old Carrillo Community Medical Clinic at 929 Laguna Street is leveled to make room for high-income condominiums.

“It is important that a neighborhood medical clinic be a healthy building, and we felt it should be more like a home than a hospital or clinic,” architect Vadmic Hsu said. “It was a pleasure being a part of a project that was welcomed by the city of Santa Barbara and the eastside community, not just because it will serve the uninsured, but also its energy efficiency, neighborhood compatibility and construction quality. From day one, we worked with the owner and builder as a team to create the best possible building for that site.”

Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics (SBNC), which started the Investing In A Healthy Community campaign in December 2001, worked with Hsu and the builder, Allen Associates, to create a “level 3 green building.”

According to green building standards, the level 3 status means “the building reflects the highest level of energy efficient, highly recycled, non-toxic, healthy and long-lasting construction techniques and materials.”

The County Board of Supervisors awarded a resolution to the designers of the clinic for this achievement.

Artist Susan Dunbar was also recognized at the ceremony for her tile painting in the waiting room, which contains the names of over 200 donors to the clinic.

“I am so pleased to be able to contribute to this worthy cause. I feel the vibrant colors introduced will boost the mood of the patients and staff, and will add comfort during a time when people most need it,” Dunbar said.

SBNC consists of the Eastside Neighborhood Clinic, Isla Vista and Westside Medical Clinics and the Carrillo Family Dental Clinic. These clinics have been serving low-income patients since the early 1970s, and merged to become SBNC in 1999. Collectively the clinics have operated in Santa Barbara County for over 100 years. In 2002, SBNC treated more than 18,000 patients, regardless of their ability to pay.

The clinic will also host a community celebration on Saturday, May 10 from noon to 4 p.m. The celebration will include free health screenings, health education booths, a barbecue lunch, live music, balloons, a raffle, games and face painting. The event is intended to lure Santa Barbara residents into exploring the SBNC services offered at the new eastside site.