Several local officials and medical professionals were on hand Tuesday to participate in the ceremonial groundbreaking for the highly anticipated Will County Health Department building.
The new 72,000-square-foot building will replace the current century-old building the department has operated out of since the 1940s, according to a news release from the county. The new health department space will be tailored to provide services such as behavioral health; family health services, including women, infant and children programs; and environmental health. It also will house offices and the Will County tuberculosis clinic.
“We’re going to provide our programs in the methods and in the ways that they should be provided,” health department Executive Director Susan Olenek said. “We’re going to have a new welcoming, beautiful building.”
Olenek also acknowledged the efforts of Will County Executive Larry Walsh and Will County Board members past and present, as it has taken much collaboration to make this project come to fruition. The project was a bipartisan effort, with board members and chairmen of the county’s Public Health and Safety Committee from both parties working toward constructing a new building to serve residents.
“A lot of input has gone into this project,” said Will County Board Speaker Denise Winfrey, D-Joliet. “We are pleased to be able to present a state-of-the-art facility for our residents, but also for our staff. We had staff working in conditions that were not really appropriate, so we’re really glad to be able to change that to say, ‘We care about you.’ ”