Learning to grow with Enloe

I have thought about Enloe Medical Center’s growth on several levels. While I do not now live in the shadow of a medical center, I did for 12 years. From 1983­1995 my family of five lived three blocks from Stanford University, three blocks from the Palo Alto Medical Clinic and a convenient two blocks from the high school. Our historical neighborhood was a jewel, although a crowded one (especially on football Saturdays). But we were proud of our institutional neighbors and our shared history.

Hospitals and communities are inextricably intertwined, Enloe even more so because it is a nonprofit community hospital managed by community board members charged with providing the best health care services possible to Chico and surrounding areas. It has always been a strong community organization, geographically and historically rooted to this locale. In reality Chico is no longer a “small town.” It is growing at a rate that projects 38,000 new citizens by 2020. Such astronomical growth is a mixed blessing of challenges and opportunities. City and county governing bodies have struggled as the community absorbs the newcomers while preserving our unique Chico heritage.

Historically, successful communities rise to the growth challenge and find ways to manage and coordinate activity around institutional sites including schools, hospitals, university campuses, railroad tracks and crossings, power and water substations and highways. These sites are an integral part of the functions, services and values of the locality. Growth and expansion in any community are dependent on compromise and collaboration between residential, service and commercial enterprises. Enloe is a service organization faced with meeting the needs of the new Chico demographics. As with homeowners, wouldn’t it seem so much easier to just go build something new at a bigger location? But then you sit down with your banker who points out to you that your expenses are increasing and your revenue is decreasing. Remodeling and an addition are what must be considered. Collaboration with neighbors becomes a necessity and a goal.

Enloe indeed has empathy for its surrounding neighbors who also will need that extra level of patience required during construction activity. Just as we know that the reward of enjoying a remodeled kitchen or new addition to a home makes the inconvenience and annoyance of construction worthwhile, it is with certainty that we know the revitalization and transformation of Enloe Medical Center will in the end result in new community pride and the ability to meet the health care needs of our rapidly growing city.