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Health department working on new quarters

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

The Fayette County Health Department is moving ahead with plans to renovate the building that will serve as its new home.

FCHD Administrator Rhonda Andrews told the Fayette County Board on Tuesday night that the department has hired a law firm and architect as it proceeds toward the renovation of the former home of Leo Brown Lumber in Vandalia.

The health department purchased the building in the 400 block of West Edwards Street in the fall of 2008, and the county approved a 10-year, $400,000 loan to the department for the renovation project.

The Fayette County Board of Health purchased that eight-lot, 2.25-acre property after being told by the Illinois Attorney General that its current home at 509 W. Edwards St. is no longer usable as a public health department.

Andrews told the county board on Tuesday the department has hired Taylor Law Office of Effingham for legal counsel on the project, because that firm has expertise in real estate and construction laws.

The FCHD has also hired Quandrant Design of Waterloo for architectural services, Andrews said, because that firm recently converted a former grocery store into health department quarters.

Andrews said Quandrant is currently working on a schematic design for the interior of the building, and expects that work to be completed within a couple of weeks.

After that is completed, she said, the FCHD will move into the construction document phase, within includes the preparing of bidding packets.

Andrews estimates that bids for the renovation will be let by the end of spring, and that construction would begin in the middle of the summer.

She said the current estimates call for the renovation project to be completed by the end of this year or early next year.