Questions arise on Health Dept. relocation

By Alberta Stojkovic - The Sentinel

MOUNT GILEAD — Architect James Brucker and Board of Health members Chad Gallogly and Glenn Bragg reported at the Dec. 17 board meeting on the additional space needed for the relocation of the Morrow County Health Department services to the Wilhelm Building.

Brucker began his evaluation of the building by stating that an additional restroom will be required as well as making doorways and rooms, handicap accessible. These are required to bring the building into compliance with the state building codes.

Brucker added that the space presently used by the Health Department is 5,530 square feet. This includes not only office area, but almost 2,000 square feet used by the nurses’ clinic rooms and additional storage space in the basement of the Social Services Building.

“The present services provided can’t fit into the 2,400 square feet the commissioners are contracting to be used at the Wilhelm Building,” Brucker said.

Commissioners did not attend last month’s Board of Health meeting, but responded to questions about the department’s relocation.

Commissioner Tom Whiston said they had not received any communication from Brucker concerning the building as of Wednesday, Dec. 26. He added that they have not received the “good will payment” of $15,000 from the Board of Health for 2018.

Commissioner Warren Davis said the plan is to begin the rent contract for the Health Department at the Wilhelm Building on Feb. 1. He said the board of health has had several months to make preparations to move.

Mechanicals and electric systems for the building will also need to be looked at, according to Brucker. There is additional space in the Wilhelm Building that could be used for the needed space for nursing and labs. Sinks for the clinic and special flooring would be required for nursing services.

Because several changes would require bringing the building to state code, Brucker estimated that it would “realistically require 4-6 months.”

When pressed by board of health members for an amount on costs, Brucker replied that a very conservative estimate would be $200,000 in remodeling costs. He said that many costs such as the necessary restroom and handicap accessible doorways would be covered by the building owner. However, there would be questions about what remodeling costs for sinks in clinic rooms and other costs would be paid by the county.

Prosecutor, Charles Howland suggested that nursing staff list the kind of requirements needed to carry on their clinical and lab services. Howland said that it would likely fall on the county and owner to do much of the work on the building.

While the commissioners have said the Wilhelm Building is “suitable” as required by Ohio Revised Code, Howland said that the suitability of the building is open to challenge by the Board of Health.

Howland said that it may be necessary for both the Board of Health and Commissioners to obtain their own attorneys since it would be a conflict of interest for him to represent both.

Morrow County Auditor Pat Davies was at the Board of Health meeting and said she has concerns for the fiscal situation this relocation move puts the county in. She questioned the benefits that would come from the costs of renovation and added rental space for a building that is not owned by the county.

A resident asked Brucker if commissioners had ever asked him to evaluate the Wilhelm Building space for the Board of Elections or other county agencies that could use the building without requiring a special clinical area. Brucker said they had not and the Board of Health knew of no other possibilities the commissioners had checked into.

Board of Health member Chad Gallogly and Glenn Bragg reported that they had visited the Wilhelm Building and realized the amount of space allotted by the commissioners would not be adequate since it did not include the nursing unit and extensive storage area.

Gallogly and Bragg say they reported this to commissioners, but said they seemed to insist that the Wilhelm Building was adequate.

By Alberta Stojkovic

The Sentinel