DRACUT -- Circle Health Dracut, a multi-million-dollar project considered by some to be a huge victory for the town's economic development, will be officially open for business next week.
Lowell General Hospital officials celebrated the grand opening Thursday morning in a VIP ribbon-cutting ceremony with community partners, Town Manager Jim Duggan, and members of the Board of Selectmen.
Located at 9 Loon Hill Rd., Circle Health Dracut is the latest addition to the not-for-profit's expanding network -- an urgent-care center, a patient-service center similar to those in Westford and Billerica, a physicians' practice, and the new location of the Lowell General Hospital Diabetes and Endocrine Center. Circle Health's Urgent Care centers provide walk-in care for non-life-threatening conditions that require prompt medical attention such as illnesses, allergies, rash or hives, scrapes, and broken bones.
"We've provided care for the residents of Dracut for many, many years, but now we're here in Dracut and that's a very big deal for us," Jody White, president and CEO of Circle Health and Lowell General Hospital, said before a crowd of over 100 community partners and staff from the third floor of the new facility.
White said this new outpatient center will provide services closer to home, adding that this is the first time in the history of Circle Health where all four endocrinologists and teams will be located in the same place to care for patients with diabetes.
"Trust me when I say this: there is no one happier in this room than me, that this facility is here and the investment has been made in this community," said Duggan, causing a ripple of laughter through the packed room. "It is sincerely appreciated ... this is another exciting day in Dracut. There is no denying it."
Back in March 2017, about three dozen people stood by the corner of Broadway Road and Loon Hill Road, on a bare plot of land save for some construction equipment for the outpatient center's groundbreaking ceremony.
After Duggan and White cut a giant blue ribbon Thursday, the crowd began to disperse. Many were led into tours of the facility.
"We're very pleased and honored to have Circle Health come to Dracut," Selectmen Vice Chair Alison Hughes said. "This is a beautiful cornerstone building and it just adds to the services that we can offer to our residents."
Selectman Tami Dristiliaris said the Dracut community is "definitely blessed." "Having worked at Lowell General Hospital for over 24 years, I know that they provide excellent care," Dristiliaris said.
Circle Health will host a free community open house on Saturday that will feature health screenings, tours of the facility, and more. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon.
Selectmen Chair Jesse Forcier recalled when the land on which Circle Health Dracut stands was an empty field with rubble and debris. He said a facility like this was needed in town. "We've definitely found our niche economically with assisted living and the medical field," he said.
Duggan said this is a project he and others are proud of.
"It's been a fantastic effort that's going to provide a great health care environment for our local citizens and their investment in the community, we're taking those funds and reinvesting them back into the community, in public safety and the schools," he said. "So we're thrilled."
Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.