The Florida Department of Health in Bay County is looking to expand its building.
The potential increase would bring more exam rooms, more classrooms and more storage space.
Diabetes is a huge concern in to the health department staff and that is the main reason why this expansion is needed. Staff hopes the addition will aid in diabetes education throughout the community.
"When you have one out of 3 people in this county that are either diabetic or pre-diabetic and its one of the most preventable diseases in the community,” said Doug Kent, Administrator. “We feel like the health department can play a very important part along with local doctors and hospitals to say hey.. We can be a part of the change.” The county commission agreed, Tuesday, that they will perform all needed maintenance and up-keep on the new square footage when it is in place.
The project will cost about 1.5 million dollars and it would build a 7,000 square foot property at the north end of the current building.
The space would add eight to 10 exam rooms, health education classrooms, and much needed storage space for the department and the WIC program.
Funding for this purpose was set out for Bay County in the state’s budget in 2010, although it might take a couple years for the project to come to fruition.
“Our next step is to approach our local legislators to get the money assigned, but the money is already allocated to us, but this is just be the beginning”
“I think we are doing the right things here in Bay County,” said Commissioner Guy Tunnell. “Mr. Kent is very adept at balancing things and sensing where there is a need and I think he has done a real good job.” If the amount is approved, Kent expects the plans to be drawn up during the July through October 2015 time frame with construction to begin shortly after.