Health Department ready to move to new location

  • Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Aiken County Health Department will soon move into its new location on Beaufort Street.

The department, which is currently operating in the Aiken County Complex on Richland Ave. W., will close its offices at 5 p.m. on Aug. 2 and open on Aug. 9 in the newly renovated building at 222 Beaufort St.

Construction crews were on site Monday continuing to put the finishing touches on the building while S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control staff installed room numbers and signage.

Aiken County Assistant Administrator Brian Sanders said the Beaufort Street site is a “better situation in every way” because the health department needed more room and a more modern facility.

Aiken County purchased the building at 222 Beaufort St. last year, and remodeling work has been under way since, including finishing the entire second-floor attic space which runs the length of the building. The first floor will comprise of exam and consultation rooms, and the second floor will be used for administrative office space.

“Council did anticipate having to buy land to build a new health department, so there is $5 million allocated in Capital Projects Sales Tax round three for it. Council took several looks at Beaufort, but also at raw land, old grocery stores, old retail space. At one time we needed 30,000 to 40,000 square feet for the health department, but the delays (in renovating the building) actually helped us,” Sanders said.

Cuts in staff size have helped Aiken County in accomodating all SCDHEC personnel on Beaufort.

In 2007, there were approximately 56 employees housed at the health department, according to SCDHEC spokesman Jim Beasley. Currently, there are 42.

Nineteen employees are in the lease space at Kalmia Mall. The County pays $34,600 a year for lease space there.

Most staff will be located in the health department on Beaufort. The rest will be next door in an existing SCDHEC field office.

The total project cost is $1.5 million.

“The savings could go back towards other projects, like road paving and the new animal shelter,” Sanders said.

While the health department is closed, birth certificates can be issued from Barnwell, Bamberg, and Allendale from Aug. 3 through Aug. 8. Death certificates must be obtained during that time using the online services or from the Central Office location at 1600 Bull St., Columbia, S.C. 29202.

The Aiken County Health Department provides immunizations, nutrition services, WIC services, handles vital records, and sexually transmitted diseases/HIV services, among others.

For more information, call 642-7543.

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