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Health/education facility on Rhode Island Avenue NE in progress

Viewing the new center from above

The view from Saratoga Avenue

In the works for more than ten years, construction is now under way on a 42,000 square-foot, $15 million multi-purpose center that will feature health and educational facilities for District residents.
With a gym, basketball court, the Unity Health healthcare clinic for the uninsured or underinsured, and space for classes, the as-yet-unnamed “life learning” center, whose contractor is District Development Group, may be ready to open in about a year’s time.
That’s according to Rev. Dr. Morris L. Shearin, the pastor of Israel Baptist Church and president/CEO of Israel Manor Inc., a faith-based non-profit and the church’s community development wing. The church and IMI are working with DDG to bring the project to life.
Unity Health currently operates a facility one block away from the construction site.
"We started construction in January," says Shearin. “But the [inclement] weather has slowed us down,” he acknowledges. “We’re about two months behind.”
Shearin said that the contractors were trying to get the foundation poured, but snow, rain and mud had hampered efforts.
The board of directors for IMI, which recently got a new chairperson, meets tonight to discuss the status of the project, among other things.
“Patience is a virtue,” says Shearin with a chuckle. “Mother Nature is in control. We’re making a lot of progress, but we could have been much further along” if weather conditions had been more suitable this winter.

Read more articles by Amy Rogers Nazarov.

Amy Rogers Nazarov is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist with more than 25 years experience as a staff reporter and a freelance writer, covering technology, adoption, real estate, and lifestyle topics from food & drink to home organizing. Her byline has appeared in Cooking Light, The Washington Post, Slate, Washingtonian, The Writer, Smithsonian, The Washington Post Express, The Baltimore Examiner, The Sacramento Bee, Cure, The Washington Times, Museum, and many other outlets. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists & Authors and tweets at @WordKitchenDC.
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