Facility opened for business Monday

Audrain County Health Department has moved into its newly-purchased home on

Elmwood Drive. Beginning last Thursday and over the weekend, department workers

began the transition, and by Monday morning, it was business as usual.

The new building is located at 1130 S. Elmwood Drive, the former home of the Mexico

Drug and Rehab Center.

The facility is equipped with a large entrance area, with a circle reception desk to greet

the public, space for offices, exam rooms (each with rest rooms), a board room and

storage space. The public entrance is located on the side of the building.

"This has been a long time coming," ACHD Administrator Kevin Lowrence said Friday.

Lowrence said he had looked at the building back in March 2012. "We've been through

a lot of stuff in making this day happen and that day is finally here.

"Being here is going to give us more of an identity. For years, people have always

associated us with Audrain Medical Center because we've been on their campus, and

that's okay. But we have always been independent. It took a great set of partnerships,

and we're excited and we hope the public is excited."

The core of public health is environmental, communicable diseases and immunizations.

For years, the health department received a portion of its funding from the Compact

Agreement entities that include the City of Mexico, the City of Vandalia, Audrain County,

and Audrain Medical Center. County public health now operates off mil tax revenue.

Friday the facility was closed for business to allow staff time to set up new offices.

Lowrence said the public can look forward to an expansion of existing services,

outreach programs and possibly a few new services unique to the area.

Lowrence said ACHD is planning a grand opening that will be announced once the

move-in is completed.

"We're quite proud of it and we hope the citizens of Audrain County recognize all the

efforts that have gone into this," Lowrence said. "We have basically saved tax payers

hundreds of thousands of dollars by not building a brand new building. And, we are

getting the same equivalent space as we had in the old facility."

Lowrence said ACHD paid $300,000 for the building and received about $200,000

worth of repairs done on the building by the previous owner.

For more information or questions about services and programs, call 573-581-1332.