HEALTH DEPARTMENT employees, county dignitaries and representatives from Perrin Construction gathered for the groundbreaking of an 8,000-square-foot, two-story addition to the James P. Capitan Center in downtown Corunna on Tuesday, July 24.
Shown during the groundbreaking is (from left) Steve Perrin, Commissioner Jeremy Root, Health Board member John Pajtas, James Capitan, Commissioner Brandon Marks, Director of Personal & Community Health Nicole Greenway, Health Board vice chairperson Patricia Cords, Commissioner Gary Holzhausen, Health Board chairperson Mary Buginsky, Commissioner Jeffrey Bartz, Scott Perrin, Commissioner Mike Bruff, Eric Perrin, Health Director Larry Johnson and County Coordinator Mike Herendeen.
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)
by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
For more than 40 years, the Shiawassee County Health Department has operated out of the basement of the 66th District Court building in Corunna, but the days of cramped quarters and artificial lighting are about to come to an end. On Tuesday, July 24, ground was broken on an expansion of the James P. Capitan Center, with plans to add an 8,000-square-foot expansion to house the Health Department’s personal community health division.
Perrin Construction will start the project on Monday, July 30, with a projected completion date of Feb. 9, 2019. The $1.2 million expansion will add two levels to the Capitan Center, which borders E. Corunna Ave. on the south, with the new addition to extend out from the north wall of the building.
While the significant expansion of a county building is noteworthy on its own, even more impressive is the fact that the Health Department is funding the $1.2 million expansion without any additional monetary assistance from the county. Most of the Health Department’s $3 million annual budget is comprised of Medicaid and grant funding, with only 10 percent coming from the county. Health Director Larry Johnson and his staff have scrimped and saved for years, and their hard work has finally come to fruition.
“It feels like I have had a second job for the past two years, as we planned and saved for this project,” Johnson said during the groundbreaking. “The Health Department is the county’s second-largest department outside of the jail, so this is a big step forward. We had been planning this expansion for a long time, but the final straw was when a sewer pipe began leaking on the desk of one of our nurses. Obviously that problem was repaired, but we are beyond excited to have a space to call our own after all these years.”
The process of expanding the Capitan Center was a team effort, with Health Department employees, Health Board members and Johnson all providing input on the design of the addition. Builder Eric Perrin noted, “A lot of thought went into the design of the building. Nicole (Greenway) and Larry (Johnson) provided a lot of feedback, so the new offices have been tailored to suit their needs.” Perrin also shared that 80 to 90 percent of the project’s suppliers and contractors will be local.
Commissioner Jeremy Root commented during the groundbreaking, “This is a momentous occasion for both the Health Department and Shiawassee County. With this addition to the Capitan building, we are finally addressing a 40-year problem. This will bring our public health division out of the basement of the district court building and provide for a more barrier free, public-friendly atmosphere for clients. I am excited to finally see this project underway.”