Our Lady of the Lake president and CEO Scott Wester

Our Lady of the Lake president and CEO Scott Wester praises the work that went into a new westside clinic on La. Highway 1, set to open in fall 2019. The groundbreaking and blessing of the site was held Feb. 6, 2019

Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group formally launched a project Wednesday to consolidate and expand its westside operations with a groundbreaking ceremony that included the blessing of an 11,000 square foot slab of concrete along La. 1.

The health care system has two clinics on the west bank — one in Port Allen and another in Brusly — that will become one, allowing for six full-time physicians at the new La. 1 location come fall of this year.

Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group Vice President Ladonna Green said each westside location serves an average of 40 patients daily, but the new clinic will be able to serve about 140 patients daily.

“This is exciting for the community; we feel like with all the growth here, we know we want to be the primary health care provider in this area, so we’re committed to this area and we have great partners in the physicians that can help provide that,” she said.

The current Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group Westside in Brusly will become a pediatric primary care facility, Green said. The group has one pediatric nurse practitioner servicing the west bank area. The specifics of that pediatric location, such as staffing numbers and the opening date, have not yet been determined.

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The second consolidated building, the Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group Primary Care of Brusly, will be vacated. Our Lady of the Lake leases that building, Green said.

Dr. Brian Higgins, who has been in practice in Brusly close to 20 years, was approached by Our Lady of the Lake two years ago to start working on the new clinic.

“I can only do so much, now to partner with the Lake has given me the opportunity to give the whole westside community complete care, not only with this building, which is incredible, but to house six full-time primary care providers … this should be able to serve the entire community,” he said during the groundbreaking.

Though Wednesday was the project’s ceremonial groundbreaking with prayer and a blessing, the clinic’s foundation is already visible along the stretch of highway. Officials say it will be open by fall.

Follow Emma Kennedy on Twitter, @byemmakennedy.