North Central Health District

COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS

Baldwin County Health Department Receives Land to Begin Constructing New Facility

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At the end of December, Governor Nathan Deal approved the transfer of land from the Department of Juvenile Justice to the Baldwin County Commission for a health department facility. The 5.7 acres adjoining the Bill E. Ireland Youth Detention Center will be used in the construction of an updated facility for Baldwin County Health Department.

The recently acquired land, located at 800 North Glynn Street, will be cleared of an existing Department of Juvenile Justice training structure prior to construction. The new public health facility, estimated to cost $2.5 million, will be partially funded using $200,000 in Tier 1 SPLOST funds from Baldwin County, with the remainder financed by Baldwin County Health Department operating reserves. The design phase of the project has already begun, and bids for construction are expected to be received Summer 2019.

Plans for the new Baldwin County Health Department will address issues experienced at the current facility. The current structure, built in 1904, was renovated in 1986 when the then-closed building was purchased by Baldwin County for use as a health department. The current building has significant structural barriers which do not allow for proper client flow, restricts how current space can be utilized and limits opportunities for expanding services. The outdated structure does not meet the needs of a modern medical facility nor the growth of public health as a medical service provider.

“The health department is growing, and our current facility can no longer accommodate us,” said Morris Hutcheson, Director of Development and Special Projects with North Central Health District. “We want to be able to provide the community with the best public health services available, but the space we have acts as a roadblock to progress. With a new location, planned to function as a public health facility from the start, we’ll be able to more effectively support Baldwin County.”

Once construction is completed, the new building is expected to be approximately 12,000 square feet. Current plans include a variety of improvements compared to the health department’s current location. Clinical space will include 11 exam rooms and ample space for future services. Administration for clinical services and the WIC nutrition program will be centralized to ensure the ease of access to all health department services for clients. The new facility will include a temperature-controlled vaccine storage space with a back-up generator – a much-needed upgrade. Clinical additions will also include a lactation suite for clients, space for telemedicine, a general health laboratory and ample parking for visitors and staff.

The county’s environmental health team will receive a larger space to house staff, clients and equipment. A planned centralized work area will allow staff to work together more efficiently than in the current environmental health offices. Designs include private meeting spaces for clients, a map room and a dedicated environmental health lab.

Plans for the new location also include multiple spaces for meetings and training sessions, which will allow Baldwin County Health Department to more effectively collaborate with local partners. Opportunities for additional partnerships, engagement and involvement include a community garden on the property and two rooms for the district’s health educators and registered dietitian to use for chronic disease prevention, education and nutrition counseling.

The future of the health department’s current building, located at 953 Barrows Ferry Rd., NE, in Milledgeville, is already in discussion. The structure will be repurposed.

The staff of Baldwin County Health Department and North Central Health District would like to thank the Board of Health and the County Commissioners for allowing public health to pursue this land transfer and for the county’s contribution to this project. Health department staff are excited for this chance to greatly improve their capability to serve the residents of Baldwin County.

Baldwin County Health Department and North Central Health District will provide regular updates throughout the duration of this project. County residents will continue to receive public health services from Baldwin County Health Department at its current location. For more information on health department services, call 478-445-4274 or visit NCHD52.org/Services.

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