Nursing division moving to larger offices

Bartholomew County Health Department’s nursing division is moving into a neighboring building that provides almost triple the space it currently occupies.

Located at 2625 Foxpointe Drive, the new building will provide the nursing division with 5,100 square feet of space – nearly three times more space than the estimated 1,800 square foot they now have at 2675 Foxpointe Drive, Bartholomew County commissioners Chairman Larry Kleinhenz said.

Part of the reason for the limited space is that the nursing division shares its current building with both Estes Neuropsychology and Select Physical Therapy, county officials said. The commissioners expressed satisfaction that, once the move is complete, they will no longer be in the landlord business.    

"The (nursing division employees) are literally on top of each other," Kleinhenz said in an earlier interview. "We got a notice from the State Fire Marshal’s office that we have a few issues that need to be cleaned up. For example, the health department has filing cabinets in the hallways."

On Monday, the commissioners voted unanimously to approve a purchase agreement to acquire the new building for $725,000 from Agnew Investments, Commissioner Carl Lienhoop said. Three different appraisals were made before both sides agreed to the purchase price, Lienhoop said.    

The acquisition is subject to the approval of the Bartholomew County Council, which will discuss the matter during a 6 p.m. meeting tonight, county attorney Grant Tucker said.     

The inadequate size of the current health department became apparent when the pandemic broke out early last year, commissioner Tony London said.     

"COVID-19 presented a much bigger problem for our nursing division than anyone had anticipated," London said. "When you are doing the normal working of the nursing division – and then creating a vaccine clinic on top of that — that makes the current site untenable."

The commissioners have said they are hopeful they will be able to slowly move into the larger offices in gradual phases, beginning in July or August. However, it will take several months, possibly nearly a year, before the move is completed, London said.

But the commissioners are considering moving the vaccine clinic into the new building almost immediately, London said.  

The nursing division moved into its current location in the summer of 2016 when they had to move because the Bartholomew County Annex on State Street was going to be demolished. The acquisition of the current facility was part of a land swap between Columbus Regional Health and the county.