11th & Parrish is few blocks north of the boatload of residential development we've seen in West Poplar in recent years, but it's currently a construction site. Right on the northwest corner is the 11th Street Family Health Services building, which is a nurse-managed health center run by Drexel.

The medical center

It seems though, that demand for health services has outstripped the capabilities of the facility, as it's now in the early stages of an expansion. Last year, the center accommodated 32,000 patient visits, which is kind of an astonishing number when you stop and think about it. After the expansion is finished, those numbers will certainly rise as the facility doubles in size. According to a press release, the expansion will result in an increase in primary care capacity, will include space for dance, music, and art therapy, will add Couple and Family Therapy services. The expansion is possible thanks to a $2.5M donation from the Sheller Family Foundation, and the expanded building will be named the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center once construction finishes next year.

Construction, the old Spring Garden School in the background

Project rendering

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the health center opened at this location in 2002. Architecturally, it has a bit of a late-90s, early-aughts institutional look to it, which will stand in strong contrast to the contemporary addition that will appear next door. When you look at these buildings together with the vacant former Spring Garden School on the same block, this becomes one of the most interesting parts of the neighborhood from a design perspective. This comes into even clearer focus when you zoom out in your mental Google Maps and realize that the block is surrounded by a sea of architecturally bland PHA homes. If and when the Spring Garden School is repurposed as has been proposed, we hope that the addition coming to that structure further diversifies the look of the block. It's certainly something to look out for in (hopefully) near future.