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home : news : news November 20, 2017

10/8/2017 11:38:00 AM
Health Department Move Now Expected By Spring
Pictured left to right: Dr. Brian Dedmond, BOH Dentist Member; Maggie Dollar, Health Director; Dan Bauer, Contractor Project Supervisor; Sheldon Lutz, BOH Public Member; Bill Beam, BOC Chairman; Kathy Caudle, BOH Chair; Kelly Atkins, County Manager; Ginger Lusk, BOH Vice-Chair and Nurse Member; Dr. Cathy Barnette, DVM, BOH Veterinarian Member; and Anita McCall, County Commissioner. (Not pictured: Don Chamblee, P.E., County Engineer and Public Works Director).(Lincoln Herald Staff Photo)

Pictured left to right: Dr. Brian Dedmond,
BOH Dentist Member; Maggie Dollar,
Health Director; Dan Bauer, Contractor
Project Supervisor; Sheldon Lutz, BOH
Public Member; Bill Beam, BOC Chairman;
Kathy Caudle, BOH Chair; Kelly Atkins,
County Manager; Ginger Lusk, BOH
Vice-Chair and Nurse Member; Dr. Cathy
Barnette, DVM, BOH Veterinarian
Member; and Anita McCall, County
Commissioner. (Not pictured: Don
Chamblee, P.E., County Engineer and
Public Works Director).


(Lincoln Herald Staff Photo)


Wayne Howard
Staff Writer


Representatives from the Board of Health, County Manager’s office, County Commissioners, county staff and contractors went on a “Hard Hat Progress Tour” walk-through of the renovated former Lincoln County Hospital last Thursday. For anyone who doesn't already know, the facility at 200 Gamble Drive in Lincolnton is being remodeled so the Lincoln County Health Department can move there from its current location off Generals Boulevard.

If work continues to progress as expected, the Health Department will move into its new location in early Spring 2018. A formal ribbon cutting and reception will be held when the move is complete.  The current Health Department building has many problems--among them a roof that would need replacing for it to continue to be used.  

The old hospital has been a topic of discussion at Commissioners' meetings for nearly a decade since the former Lincoln County Hospital closed.

Lincoln Medical Center officially became part of Carolinas HealthCare System in September 2006 and changed its name to Carolinas HealthCare System-Lincoln.



House of Trophies - Retirement

The old building and land reverted to County ownership and over the years a variety of possibilities were discussed before any action was finally begun.

There was talk about selling the facility--but not much interest in purchasing it.

By 2009, Commissioners were leaning toward moving most County offices there. One of the advantages of that move was supposed to be "one stop shopping" for County services since almost all County departments would be in the one location.

A part of the plan--as finally approved by Commissioners at a meeting in January 2015--was to sell the current Health Department building, the former Bank of America building where the Tax Department and Register of Deeds offices are located, the old school building on North Academy Street that currently houses the Planning and Zoning departments, and the old probation building. The money from the sale of those was to be used to pay part of the debt created by the project which was estimated to cost $15 million.

Since that 2015 meeting, a lot of water has run under the bridge.

The City Council and others objected to moving all the County offices out of downtown and several alternatives were proposed. One of the reasons for making the move--according to the original discussions--was to make more room for the courts.

Commissioners have since decided to renovate the Courthouse, have already renovated the exterior of the James W. Warren Citizens Center with more renovations on the interior yet to come, have renovated the Tax Office and Register of Deeds office building, have turned the old jail on South Government Street behind the Citizens Center into the new probation office, have purchased the former R.B. Cronland Hardware location on Salem Church Road, appear ready to purchase a former doctor's office at Town & Country Shopping Center for a new Senior Center location, and have decided not to move a significant number of County offices--including the Extension Service--from their current location. Commissioners have also approved building a new Communications Center adjacent to the old hospital, and in budget negotiations for the fiscal 2017-18 budget, decided to hold off on construction of a new Government Center just behind the old hospital where some of the County offices would be moved.

Commissioners also accepted a donation of land from Loretta Beam for a new West Lincoln Branch Library near West Lincoln High School, and have discussed plans for other library improvements in Lincolnton and Denver. Also in the plans is the expansion of the Animal Services building.

While it hasn't been discussed much--yet--they're also likely to be faced with the necessity of expanding the Lincoln County Jail (Harven Crouse Detention Center). The jail is already housing more inmates than it's approved to hold and the County faces the possibility that someone might file a lawsuit demanding that situation be corrected. If so, the County would either have to build a larger jail or pay other counties to house some of its prisoners.

While many of the projects that have been talked about have been given tentative approval, there's always the possibility that some changes might be made. The long discussion, multiple actions and reversals, related to the old hospital building are solid evidence that such can happen.

One thing that appears certain is that the Health Department will be moving next year.




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