• Last modified 1732 days ago (Nov. 20, 2014)


Health Department eyeing move to St. Luke Hospital

Staff writer

Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene and St. Luke CEO Jeremy Ensey approached the commission at Monday’s meeting to ask about relocating offices of the Health Department to a former physician clinic at St. Luke Hospital, and the commission ultimately decided it would take time out of next week’s meeting to look at the space in the hospital.

The entire space would cost $2,000 a month to rent, but Serene and Ensey said the health department wouldn’t need all of the available 3,000 square feet. Despite the potential cost of relocating from the historic Bowron building, commissioners agreed something needed to be done.

“Moving into that building was a stopgap measure,” Holub said. “The Health Department used to just give shots. We’ve outgrown it. This new facility is what our health department should be.”

The conversation about moving the Health Department led commissioners back to the familiar topic of consolidating county workspaces to a central location where nearly all departments could operate.

“What we need is another building and we need it right here adjacent to the courthouse,” Commissioner Dan Holub said. “The more we pull everybody back here the better off it is for the staff, and the better off it is for people that want to deal with the county. It’s all right here. You don’t have to run around town trying to find all your county offices.

“That’s stupid.”

Chairman Roger Fleming said moving the health department could help spur the commission toward action, and suggested the commission “consider (the move) very strongly,” even though he said it wouldn’t address with the problems the building presents.

“We won’t solve anything until we have something built and we can actually get rid of that building,” Fleming said.

Commissioners agreed the move would be a temporarily solution.

Commissioners also acknowledged the need to relocate the road and bridge departments, as well as the transfer station.

“We’ve talked about it, but maybe we just need to get serious,” Holub said. He added that the health department move could be temporary until a new building can be constructed.

“By the time you budget (for a new building), it’s gonna be sometime next year, or the year after next before you go anywhere, then it’ll be 2017 or 2018 before it’s done,” Holub said.

Commissioners compared the project’s scope to that of the county jail construction, which took approximately 21 months from the proposal stage to its opening.

“I’ve said all there is to say, it’s just reiterating now,” Holub said.

“Basically it boils down to: Where are we going to get the money?” Fleming said.

“Yep, it’s always about the money,” Holub said.

In other business:

  • The commission approved resolutions to vacate a road near 125th and Harshman Rds. near Florence. A public hearing was held, and no substantial objection was voiced by area residents.
  • The commission voted to refund $402 to a resident who had been overcharged for recreational vehicle lodging at the county lake.
  • The county approved the purchase of a $10,710 generator for the health department. The generator will power a refrigerator that holds $37,000 in vaccines and medicine; the refrigerator currently is not hooked up to a generator and pages department workers in case of a power outage. Serene said this puts employees at risk who need to attend to the refrigerator during bad storms.

Last modified Nov. 20, 2014