Plans started on $19M Shelby County Health Dept. building

SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - Shelby County Health Department is moving forward on a $19 million plan for a new facility in the medical district. Formal papers were filed with the county's Office of Planning and Development earlier this month.

"It's time," said Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County Health Department Director. "It's no longer designed in a way that allows us to serve the public."

Haushalter said the current facility at 814 Jefferson comprises two buildings, one built in the 50s and the other in the 70s. Health services and record keeping are on multiple floors, and she said it can be confusing at times for people to find their way around.

Parking is also a problem, because there is no public parking lot for people who use the health department, meaning they have to rely on street parking in the Medical District.

An existing auditorium will be demolished, and the new three-story health department will be built next to the current one. Once construction is complete, the old facility will be torn down and made into a parking lot.

"It'll be much easier to find the locations where someone would be served," she said.

Haushalter said renderings aren't public yet, but they should be in the near future. The plans will need county commission and the mayor's approval, and if all goes as intended, groundbreaking could be next summer.

"In the end, it is whether or not we're able to serve the customer in a meaningful way, and this building design was for a different era," said Haushalter.

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