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The San Benito Health Foundation celebrated the completion of an 18-month renovation project of its Community Health Center Aug. 14 with an open house that drew more than 100 community members, politicians and others to the Hollister clinic.

The federal funded center at 351 Felice Drive, has served the county for more than four decades. The completion of extensive interior and exterior renovations were recognized at a ribbon-cutting event.

The completed project features what health advocates say is the first solar-powered healthcare center with a battery backup in California. New dental rooms, a new reception area and other improvements were part of the project.

Rep. Jimmy Panetta, whose Congressional district includes San Benito County, attended the ribbon-cutting and praised the clinic as “California’s first solar-powered zero-carbon healthcare facility.”

The extensive upgrades at the clinic, especially the installation of solar panels and backup batteries, assure the delivery of healthcare even during a lengthy power outage. The LED batteries will provide power for a week, officials said.

“You are guaranteeing health care no matter what the crisis,” Panetta said. He said the San Benito community health center serves as a model for similar centers across the country.

He said all citizens should have access to affordable health care.

Rosa Vivian Fernandez Badillo, director of the center, said the facility has been a federally funded community health center since 2007, and offers medical, dental, behavioral health, perinatal and nutrition programs.

The independent non-profit has a main facility at 351 Felice Dr. in Hollister, and  a satellite clinic at the San Juan Bautista Windmill Market shopping center.

Its mobile health center provides educational outreach, screening and healthcare delivery services throughout San Benito County.

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