Fayette adds $1 million seed money for Health Department move

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The Fayette County Health Department in downtown Fayetteville is hoping for an eventual move to a new facility, possibly on the grounds of the Fayette County Justice Center. Photo/Ben Nelms.
The Fayette County Health Department in downtown Fayetteville is hoping for an eventual move to a new facility, possibly on the grounds of the Fayette County Justice Center. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Fayette County has agreed to put aside $1 million to help with plans to construct a new facility for the Fayette County Health Department, which is expected to co-locate with the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program.

Though likely several years away, the Fayette County Commission on Sept. 26 agreed to put aside a portion of the funds which will be needed to construct a new building to house the health department and WIC. The health department is currently located in the county complex in downtown Fayetteville, while WIC is located a few blocks away on Lee Street.

County staff said the likelihood exists that the new building would be located on the property that houses the Fayette County Justice Center.

Though the actual cost of the new building is unknown, staff said it could run in the range of $5 million or more.

The Fayette County Board of Health has designated $1.2 million for the project, with the remainder of the funding yet to be raised.

The commission vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Eric Maxwell opposed. Maxwell said he was not opposed to the allocation, rather his opposition was due to what he believed to be the procedurally incorrect placement of the item on the agenda.

It was in 2018 that members of the Board of Health and the Fayette County Health Department presented the request for a new building facility.

County staff said it was the position of the health department that the current facility lacked the ability to expand services to Fayette citizens. Those concerns included: limited clinical space, not user/patient friendly, current location precludes patient privacy, not ADA compliant, tight spaces and exam rooms that limit ability of staff to provide adequate care and remain HIPPA compliant.

The 2018 plan for the new building included co-locating WIC in the new building.

Staff said previously proposed renovation plans for the current Stonewall Avenue spaces were developed for consideration, but not pursued due to the actual loss of space for a unified Public Health Department and WIC under a common roof, and cost for proposed renovation.

A new building will allow for expansion of services, and an easier referral process for both clients and department, thereby increasing actual referrals, increasing department efficiency by incorporating digital records and services, providing the ability to offer greater training and education services and the department becoming more self-sufficient and efficient in services, county staff said.