By Beth Lawrence

 

Renovations at the Jackson County Department of Public Health are on budget and on schedule, according to county Manager Don Adams.

The Community Service Center, which formerly housed the Department of Health’s clinics, services, education and administration along with the Cooperative Extension and Soil and Water, is undergoing a complete overhaul, not just a facelift.

“It was completely gutted,” Adams said. “Nothing has been saved other than structural. It will have a new roof, new HVAC, everything.”

Under the previous floor plan, space was limited for needed services like clinical facilities and lab work because the community room, a large open area, took up quite a bit of space. The vaulted design of the community room ceiling extended into the second floor. 

The new floor plan will see the room closed off between the first and second floors and divided into offices and waiting rooms, Adams said.

The redesign of the large community room addressed the issues with space.

“That gained us more square footage on the second floor,” Adams said. “The new facility will have all health department functions. What is different is we’re going to move permitting and code enforcement and the planning departments into this new facility to operate alongside the health department’s environmental health section. This will create a one stop permitting center for development. Right now you have to go to three different physical locations to access these three departments for development permits. Now (in the new building), to do the same development permit you will walk into this one area.”

The second floor of the remodeled Community Service Center will house the one stop permitting offices along with health department administration and education.

The lower floor will be dedicated to community health services such as health and wellness, exam rooms, labs and Women’s Infants and Children services (WIC).

“What’s happened is we’ve almost doubled our lab space by closing the community room and moving the other departments,” Adams said. “There’s also more clinical space.”

The facility will be largely completed in May or June barring any unforeseen delays. There will likely be an approximate 30 day punch out window for the county to approve the work done and allow the contractor to make any necessary corrections.

Health Department employees can expect to move into their newly renovated space by June or July, Adams said.

The project cost the county $7,949,492 covered by monies from capital outlay and fund balance accounts.