The health department began offering some services at the new location Thursday afternoon and was officially moved in Friday. Health commissioner Tim Hollinger said he was impressed with his team’s efficiency since most health departments close for about a week when moving, he said.
By 3:30 p.m. Thursday, most of the department’s desks already were in the Executive Drive building. When 3:30 rolled around, most departments closed, packed up and moved to their new work home, where workers from Spectrum, the telephone company and IT department were on standby, awaiting the green light to begin the process of “lighting up the numbers” in the new building. The departments that closed only stopped offering services for an hour and half of the regular work day.
By Friday morning, just about everything was operational, Hollinger said.
“We’re over there and for the most part, we’re functional. We tried not to close,” he said, adding that both the nursing and environmental departments succeeded in remaining open throughout the process. “It’s only just a little bit disoriented over there. It’s not bad. I’m pretty happy with how the whole move ended up going.”
Hollinger said it was an important exercise for the organization since it gave them a “practice round,” so to speak, of how it would function in the case of an emergency that required them to find a new working location — something the state has requested all health departments try.
“The state has been wanting health departments to do this exercise: how would you move?” he said. “How would you move your birth and death certificates — especially if there were a large number of people within your county that died and you needed to continue to (offer) services? We needed to figure out how to operate in an emergency situation.”
Hollinger said the department “learned a lot” in the process about how to handle such a situation. He said in the moving process, there was just one noticeable blip — a way to easily identify the new location.
The Executive Drive location currently has paper signs in the window, but no other signage indicating it the new home of the Huron County Public Health department.
“We don’t have signage up out there yet, so some people are having some trouble finding the new location out there,” Hollinger said. “That was a bit of a glitch.”
The move was the right decision for the department, Hollinger said, adding that it’s in “a lot better situation for the county.” Part of the move was about making the services more accessible for the southern part of the county. The commissioner said with the department’s old location at 180 Milan Ave., it added an extra seven to 10 minutes just to get to for those driving in on U.S. 250 from the south.
“Plus, all of the other services, Job and Family Services and others, the hospital — the majority of our partners are out that way,” he said, referring to the Executive Drive building.
“So we’re out by them now, which works out really well. The sheriff’s office and EMA are right out there, which in an emergency, that’s a vital link for (us) to work together. It’s the right place for us to be. It’s a good thing. It’s a much smaller building. It’s a couple thousand square feet smaller than what we have (at the old location). But it’s much more efficient in the way that it’s set up; there is no wasted space. It’s a good place for us.”