Sale of Rocky Mountain Building finalized, Alluvion Health preparing for construction

Alluvion Health, formerly the Community Health Care Center, now officially owns the Rocky Mountain Building at the corner of Central Avenue and 6th Street.

The sale closed on Feb. 4 and Alluvion is moving forward with plans for construction and expanded health case services that are available to the public.

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Erin Merchant, Alluvion marketing director, said the plans are taking shape, but staff that were in the county annex are slowly moving out over the next several months to their new 601 1st Ave. N. location. They’ll also continue to operated out of the City-County Health Department at 115 4th St. S.

The former health center has rebranded as Alluvion Health wiht new colors, logo and a website.

In January, Trista Besich, chief executive officer, said that they plan to put construction out to bid this summer and it’s a two-year phased plan to move staff into the building that has been vacant since a 2009 fire.

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They’ll eventually have about 200 employees in the building, she said, and about 60 percent of those will be professional positions.

Rocky Mountain Building

The Rocky Mountain Building in downtown Great Falls. Photo by Jenn Rowell | The Electric

The goal, Merchant said, is make access to health care easier.

Alluvion is federally funded and the target demographic is those at 200 percent of the poverty level or below. Besich said last fall that there are 32,000 people in Cascade County in that category.

The federal poverty level for 2018, according to, was $12,140 for an individual and 200 percent of the poverty level is $24,280.

Alluvion is a non-profit with a governing board.

CCHD opened what was previously called the Community Health Care Center in 1994 to support increased access to care for the uninsured, underinsured and underserved patients. In 2012, the CHCC started operating as a separate department within the county with a long-term goal of becoming an independent agency, according to CHCC.

Alluvion offers medical, dental and behavior health services. They’ve also partnered with Gateway to provide addiction services.

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They’ve also added school based clinics, which are now open to the public for medical services. They also offer beavioral services for students.

The clinics are located at Paris Gibson Education Center, Great Falls High, Giant Springs Elementary and Belt.

The clinics are all open 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. The clinic at Paris Gibson is Monday through Wednesday, Giant Springs is Thursday only and Belt is Thursday only.

To make an appointment at the school based clinics or the main sites, call 406-454-6973 and indicate which site you’d like to attend.

Initially, the plan was to use about 50,000 square feet for Alluvion’s permanent home with 10,000 to 30,000 square feet of space potentially available for lease.

Now it’s sounding like Alluvion will use up more of the space in their new building, but Merchant said the influx of employees and visitors to the building will benefit downtown businesses.

Construction will take time, but they’re already making plans to secure the site in the meantime.

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Last year, a glass pane fell out of a window in the Rocky Mountain Building and the city directed the former owners to cover the windows with plywood.

The plywood was installed on the inside of the windows though, not addressing the problem, and Alluvion will now move the plywood to the exterior to prevent any glass falling in the future.

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Merchant said Alluvion received a $1,200 grant from the Business Improvement District to add artwork to those plywood pieces. She met with the art director at the University of Providence for some initial planning ideas and they’re hoping to be able to auction some of the art in the future to celebrate the artists and preserve the artwork.

“It’s important to us that we make the building look nice while we’re in construction,” Merchant said.

They’ll take donations and volunteers for the art project, Merchant said.