North Central Health offices consolidate, move into downtown Macon

lmorris@macon.comApril 10, 2013 

The North Central Health District’s administrative offices, previously spread out among several midstate locations, are consolidating and moving to the BB&T building in downtown Macon.

The health district offices are relocating to five of the 12 floors in the tower at 201 Second St. on the corner of Walnut Street.

Five district health department sites are being consolidated into about 35,000-square-feet of space, said Dr. David Harvey, the district’s health director. The move will bring more than 80 workers into the building.

“We hope to have a more efficient operation and management,” he said. “We all see a lot of each other anyway, but having us all together, we can share resources and it will be better.”

The Macon sites being consolidated are the Adolescent Health and Youth Development center on First Street; the Babies Can’t Wait location on Riverside Drive; the Women, Infants and Children office behind Middle Georgia State College; and the district health office on Hemlock Street.

The Babies Can’t Wait office in Perry, which closed about three months ago, also is part of the move to the new downtown Macon office. Also, the district’s pharmacy will move into the building, but it will not be open to the public, Harvey said.

The consolidation affects only district administrative offices. All county health departments in the district will remain in their current locations.

The district’s Hemlock Street office was built in the early 1940s, Harvey said. It has been modified over the years, but the state has been trying for years to “get rid of a lot of the older real estate that was high maintenance,” he said.

Negotiations with The Medical Center of Central Georgia for the Hemlock Street building have been in play for several years.

But a deal recently was struck, and the Medical Center agreed to buy the building from the state. The state then signed a lease for the BB&T space, which in turn is leasing the space to the health department.

Earl Barrs, through his company Due South Investments, purchased the 130,000-square-foot BB&T building in August 2012 for $2.6 million.

With the health department deal, the building is fully leased except a small space, said Barrs, who also is moving his office into the building.

BB&T’s banking offices will remain on the lobby level of the building, he said. Other tenants include some FBI offices, a financial services company, attorneys, the Public Defender’s Office and federal bankruptcy court offices.

“I think this is good news for Macon,” Barrs said. “When we got involved, (the state) was fixing to (consolidate the health district offices and move them to) Warner Robins from what I understand.”

Harvey said several locations were considered for the consolidated office, and “there was not a strong reason to move out of Macon.”

One of the biggest challenges during the move is the department has a complicated Information Technology system, which has to be compatible with the state phone system.

Some of the district health department’s phones will be down until Monday, so people may have trouble getting through until next week, he said.

The North Central Health District is part of the Georgia Department of Public Health and serves 13 counties in Middle Georgia: Baldwin, Bibb, Crawford, Hancock, Houston, Jasper, Jones, Monroe, Peach, Putnam, Twiggs, Washington and Wilkinson.

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

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