By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – A long-anticipated move for the county’s health department became a reality as county workers helped move the facility to its new location on Main Street on Monday.
The clinic was moved from 209 Simmons Street (adjacent to the courthouse) to 645 South Main Street in the medical facility formerly occupied by Dr. Paul Odom.
Finding a new location for the health department had been a familiar topic in supervisor meetings for more than five years, after repeated requests from the state health department’s District Health Officer, Dr. Alfio Rausa for a new location in the county.
Dr. Rausa has stressed to county officials that the Simmons Street location was crowded and antiquated. In 2008, supervisors agreed to purchase the Odom building from Yalobusha General Hospital. At that time, hospital administrator Terry Varner told supervisors the hospital would build a new medical clinic that would house all of the hospital-employed physicians.
With the completion of the hospital’s new $1.8 million medical clinic, the Odom building was vacated allowing the county to purchase the facility for $275,000 from the hospital.
As part of the purchase terms, Varner also agreed to provide minor modifications to the building for the health department.
“We spent about $23,000 on the facility,” Varner said, making it move-in ready for the health department. The work included modifying offices and walls and painting the building’s interior.
“The hospital also spent $200,000 renovating the Odom building about four years earlier,” Varner also told the Herald.
The health department was closed Monday and Tuesday, with hopes of opening at the new location Wednesday.