Region 8 health unit getting set to expand

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

WYNNE, AR (KAIT) – Officials with the Cross County Health Unit Monday expressed optimism about their new building currently under construction near the city's medical district.

According to Karen Sagaskey, District Administrator, the county, state and an economic development grant is helping fund a new health department building on Julian Avenue down the road from Caldwell Drugs.

The project, worth an estimated $1.2 million, could be finished by the end of this year or early 2011, Sagaskey said.

"It really allows us to identify ourselves in the community, show the people where we're at and what kind of services we can provide," said Sagaskey.

Sagaskey said the health department will be easier for the public to find. According to Sagaskey, approximately 4,000 people enter the doors for screenings, treatments and other programs. Sagaskey said the old building on 702 Canal Avenue was constructed in the 1970's as an office building.

"There's no way that the health department in itself can build new buildings with the cost that they are," said Sagaskey. "It is tailored for medical purposes, for a clinic to operate so you've got a flow in the clinic that is very fine tuned."

Nurses told Region 8 News Monday that the new facility will allow them more room to operate.

"We have environmental specialists so they inspect the sewer systems for construction, the plumbing areas, the food inspections," said Sagaskey.

"It will be more user friendly for the community, the flow rate would be better for the staff and the patients to come through, we would increase on privacy, we would increase our service to the community," said Kitty Bingham, LHU Administrator.

Bingham said the current facility has 4 exam rooms. The new facility will have the same number of rooms, but they'll be larger. The entire project will be 2,000 square feet larger than the building on Canal Avenue.

"The services have grown. We have to spend more time scheduling now. In the past, we could have quite a few walk ins, now we need to schedule more because of the increased patient load," said Bingham.

Bingham said the new facility will have increased privacy in all exam rooms and other areas of the structure.

"I requested during the planning to have the exam rooms sound proof and the interview rooms sound proof," said Sagaskey.

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