Jackson Co. prepares to open new health department

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - By Patrice Clark – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) – Jackson County will soon celebrate a major post-Katrina milestone. Thursday, leaders will cut the ribbon to open a new $4.5 million health department.

The new health department now towers over Vega Street in Pascagoula. Katrina wiped out the old 50 year health building, forcing workers to move into one trailer.

"For the past five years, they have been working out of trailers. So everybody is real pleased to have this type of facility," Contractor Leo Wood said.

Wood is one of the head contractor for the build. He said the 24,000 square foot facility meets all of FEMA's requirements.

"There's reinforced concrete, reinforced steel, so the wind is not going to get it and the walls are not going to wash away."

Wood said the building has a more modern look and feel, from the glass windows to the colorful furnishings.

"State of the art. Brand new."

A tornado shelter sits in the back of the new building, so county employees can hunker down if disaster strikes.

"We have made major strides to bounce back," Supervisor Melton Harris said.

Harris said one thing the storm taught Jackson County is to build safer and smarter. He's excited about new look, and he feels the citizens will also be impressed come opening day.

"Even if it is a young couple getting married for a blood test, kids getting vaccinated, getting flu shots and things of that sort, everyone in the county can benefit from this facility."

The building was paid for with a MDA block grant.  The ribbon county ceremony will be held Thursday, August 26, at 10:00 a.m. on Vega Street.

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