Lee County Health Department hopes to build new home

Lee County Health Department wants to move to new location.

Could expansion be in the works for the Lee County Health Department?

Cramped spaces, high energy costs and more services make it difficult for the facility to operate efficiently at its current location.

"I think it would just be great to be able to have a nice easy place to be able to function and store things," Oral Health Coordinator Rachel Patterson-Rahn said. "Grab them on the go easily when we're trying to get out and maximize services and get as many places in a day as possible."

That's the dream of everybody at the Lee County Health Department in Fort Madison.

The agency moved into the old Sacred Heart Hospital building in 1990, but Lee County Health Department Administrator Julie Schilling says it's time for a new home.

"When we moved in 1990 we had six programs for services that we were providing," Schilling said. "We have added 15 more programs. So we currently have 21 programs or services. We have also increased the number of staff that we have from 22 to 38 staff currently."

Office space is tight with 4 or 5 people sharing a room.

Some hallways have been turned into offices.

The health departments computer system is located in its furnace room.

And employees like Rachel Patterson- Rahn have to park their mobile carts, which contain needed supplies, next to their desks.

Schilling says that the new building would be built on this land next the Lee County Juvenile Center.

"We do not have an office in Keokuk," Schilling said. "By moving out to south of town near the correctional facility. We would be more centrally located in Lee County for people to access the services here that we provide at our health department."

Those plans are still in the very early stages and would need approval by the Board of Supervisors.

Schilling says that over the next 15 years at its current location, the health department would pay about $500,000 in rent and an additional $100,000 in anticipated repairs.

That money could be used to offset the cost of a new building.