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Health Right, city await bids on Scott Avenue project

MORGANTOWN — Representatives from the city of Morgantown and Milan Puskar Health Right say both parties are still committed to moving Health Right’s Spruce Street clinic out of downtown Morgantown. 

Details on if and/or when that move could happen, and how much it’s going to cost, should be much clearer in the next week or so. 

“The city and Health Right are still working together, and all parties are working to keep this moving forward,” Assistant City Manager Emily Muzzarelli explained, noting bids on a project to renovate Health Right’s new Scott Avenue building will be in next week. 

As previously reported, the city approached Health Right in September 2021 and offered $800,000 in American Rescue Plan money if Health Right would agree to move the clinic and Friendship House out of the downtown by March 31, 2023. 

The Friendship House, Health Right’s mental health drop-in center at 231 Walnut St., closed its doors in February and reopened in May at 277 Don Knotts Boulevard with a new mission and a new name, Friendship Community in Recovery. 

As for the clinic, Health Right purchased a building at 10 Scott Ave., a stone’s throw from Hazel’s House of Hope, and made plans to turn the 6,000-square-foot space into a functioning multi-faceted clinic and office.  

But cost estimates for that project came back more than $1 million beyond what Health Right had on hand. 

At the time, Milan Puskar Health Right Executive Director Laura Jones said the move was on hold until at least June 2024. 

According to Muzzarelli, the project currently out for bid does reflect some minor changes compared to what Health Right was looking at before. In addition, there is optimism the project will draw more bidders this time around. 

Lastly, she conceded, additional dollars may be necessary. 

“Several entities had alluded to pitching in more, including the city if needed,” Muzzarelli said. 

Jones said she’s optimistic there is real progress being made. 

“We are closer to a path forward and should know soon what that will look like,” she said. 

The 10,578-square-foot building the clinic currently occupies, at 341 Spruce St., remains listed for sale with Black Diamond Realty for $975,000.