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A $3.4 million move: Big plans in store for Macon-Bibb County Health Department

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Macon-Bibb County Health Department plans to see patients in new digs by this time next year.

Work will begin sometime in the next three months to renovate and modernize the former home of OrthoGeorgia at 1600 Forsyth St., where the county health department is set to relocate.

Plans to move out of the current facility at 171 Emery Highway have been in the works since 2015, said Michael Hokanson, spokesman for the Department of Public Health’s North Central Health District. The building there has not been updated since the health department moved in more than 25 years ago.

“The biggest improvement will be easier client flow and navigation,” Hokanson told The Telegraph. “The current building is maze-like, with programs being separated by doors and hallways in an inefficient manner.”

The Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority paid OrthoGeorgia $3,398,295 for the 103,673 square-feet building, the authority’s Executive Director Alex Morrison said.

After renovations, which could take six to nine months, the health department will be made up of three buildings on the two-acre lot beside the old Sid’s Sandwich Shop near Interstate 75.

The main building will house clinical operations, administration, the Women Infants and Children program, the dental program, a telemedicine exam room, a large space for training or conferences and a demonstration kitchen.

“Our district’s registered dietician and community partners will be able to use the (demonstration kitchen) to hold classes on healthy meal preparation, picking nutritious foods, heart-healthy cooking and more,” Hokanson said.

There also are plans for a children’s play area and an automated kiosk intake system.

Vital records, environmental health services and a private area for the Teen Health Center will be located in a separate building. A third building will be for storage.

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The Macon-Bibb County Health Department is set to leave its facility at 171 Emery Highway and move to 1600 Forsyth Street sometime in 2020. Georgia Department of Public Health breaking@macon.com

Laura Corley covers education news for The Telegraph, where she advocates for government transparency and writes about issues affecting today’s youth. She grew up in Middle Georgia and graduated from Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.
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