Regional Health Department Director Sue Judlin and Hamblen County Health Department Director Ashley Lyons recently met with members of the Hamblen County Commission to advocate for a new building in the county health department.
The county is expected to pay 25% of the cost of the new building, which would equate to just over $1 million in a first estimate.
“They said the State of Tennessee had chosen Hamblen County as the county they were prepared to invest money in to build a new health department building,” the Hamblen County Mayor said. Bill Brittain.
He said the money will come from the US state-level bailout and that up to $4.5 million the state will pay 75% of the new structure, which will replace the current structure that has was built in 1996.
Judlin said Hamblen County was chosen for its high volume of patient traffic and inefficient use of space in the current building. She said the current two-story, no-elevator layout makes it difficult for staff and patients to navigate clearly or perform the various services provided by the ward.
She said Hamblen County was one of two counties in that area (and 17 in the state) with the opportunity for new building.
“Another thing that happened with COVID is we saw the need for outdoor delivery systems,” Lyons said. “Either testing or vaccination and in large quantities.”
The Hamblen County Health Department has moved its vaccination and testing site to the Morristown-Hamblen Health System to better provide COVID care to the public.
Lyons also mentioned better privacy for patients and better security provision for staff as incentives for a new building.
The state is asking for a commitment by April on whether or not the county will pay for the required game.
If the agreement is reached, the Hamblen County Commission will review the Hamblen County Department of Emergency Communications’ proposal to purchase and repurpose the Hamblen County Health Department building.
HCECD Director Eric Carpenter made the case to the commission and said more space is badly needed to fully accommodate the operations of their E911 efforts.
“We think this is not only an amazing deal for the county, but also a great deal for Hamblen County 911,” he said.
Carpenter said the swap would allow the county to get a new health department building without using money from fund balances or raising taxes, solving problems for E911 caused by space constraints as well. that provide room for future growth and would allow the sheriff’s office to use the current operations center for future use.
He called it a “win-win-win”.
“I think that’s a win,” Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain acknowledged, “I think that’s what’s best for the public safety community as a whole.” It will serve them well for 30 years.
Brittain said the long-term positive impact makes the proposal attractive and said it was the best use of the space currently occupied by the health department.