NORTH PLATTE – The Women’s Resource Center has taken a giant leap forward in its effort to provide free ultrasounds to pregnant women. Dr. Caroline Sorenson of Platte River Rehab Medicine has volunteered to be the facility’s medical director.

      It’s an important step, according to Amy Woods, WRC executive director. Knights of Columbus raised enough money for an ultrasound machine for the center, but the WRC couldn’t apply for it until a medical director was identified.

      “The process really kicks into high gear now,” said Woods. “We’re shooting for this summer to be able to offer our first free limited ultrasound.”

      The purpose behind the medical procedure is to be able to show women what their baby looks like in the womb. The option will be offered to everyone, regardless of income, who has a positive pregnancy test.

      “It’s our mission to help women make an informed decision about their options, whether that be parenting, adoption or abortion,” said Woods. “We show them fetal models all the time, but being able to see the baby on that screen really connects the mother’s heart with her child. It’s more effective than seeing a picture of someone else’s baby.”

      She said ultrasounds would likely be offered once a week. Nurses will be trained to tell if a pregnancy is viable, take measurements and determine how far into the pregnancy a woman is.

      The building has been undergoing renovations for several months in preparation. A peer counseling room inside the facility was converted into an ultrasound area, and the electricity was switched from 110-volt to 220-volt so that it could withstand the new equipment.

      The bathroom was also upgraded to be handicap accessible, and a new HVAC unit was installed. Policies and procedures are still being updated.

      The next construction phase will result in an address change from 331 E. Sixth Street to 316 E. Front Street.

      “We’re basically going to flip-flop our building,” said Woods. “If I had a great big crank to do it, it would be easier. Right now, you could drive up and down Sixth Street and never find us, but when we’re finished, our front door will be on Front Street instead of facing the Parkade Plaza.”

      Woods said community donations completely funded the renovations, which were initially projected to cost $26,000, but ended up just under $29,000.

      “This community has really supported us,” she said. “We’re so thankful to the people who stepped up to help our center grow and reach out to clients who might be slipping through the cracks.”