PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - When it comes to disaster preparedness, there are some services that just have to be ready, no matter what. Jackson County District 3 Supervisor Mike Mangum believes a health department is one of them.
"The health department is one of the things you need immediately after. If there's any sicknesses, or any trauma, that they be able to offer a certain amount of services here pretty quick after a storm, and they be able to function through that event," Mangum said.
In Jackson County, it will be one of the first grant-funded new buildings since Hurricane Katrina. The Board of Supervisors approved the construction for the state-of-the-art health department Monday.
"It gets us to the point where we can start turning dirt, and start building buildings. And that's obviously what we want to see," said County Administrator Alan Sudduth. "All the grant money we've been given, we want to see the fruits of their labor."
The health department has been operating from portable buildings since Hurricane Katrina pushed it out of its former location at the corner of Vega Street and Hospital Road in Pascagoula.
"This is one of the earliest construction projects where we're building from the ground up," Sudduth said. "We've had several reconstruction projects, but this is the first one with our CDBG money that we're awarded."
The $4.5 million project will be 2,500 square feet, much bigger in size than the old health department. It will also included more amenities, like a hurricane shelter.
"Our goal wasn't just to come back and build exactly what we had," Mangum said. "Our goal was to come back and build something better than what we had. To really bring back a lot of services, that makes a bigger impact on Jackson County. We'll be able to have a little room for growth, and we'll be able to offer a lot more services in the event of another storm."
The new facility will be located on Vega Street just down the street from the old health department. A groundbreaking is expected in July.