County to give $1.25 million to Health Dept.-VBISD public health training facility construction

By: 
Paul Garrod - news4garrod@vineyardpress.biz

    PAW PAW - Following three years of additional planning and securing funding for a proposed partnership between the Van Buren Intermediate School District and the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department, on Tuesday, the Van Buren County Board of Commissioners gifted $1.25 million toward the project.
    The project, which was first introduced in 2016, a first of its kind for the state in-cludes the construction of a new two-story, public  health educational training facility at the Van Buren Technology Center in Lawrence. The proposed approximately 20,000-square-foot addition to the VBISD campus will provide space for dental, public health nursing, environmental health and emergency preparedness.
    Ryan Post, Van Buren County Finance Director, told commissioners that the $1.25 million allocation for the county’s General Fund, will leave the remaining balance within the budgetary goals of 20 percent of General Fund revenues. The county allocation will assist in reducing the amount necessary to bond, resulting in a $1.8 million savings in interest payments over the course of the bond.
    Jeff Elliott, VBCD Health Department Executive Director, previously said that they have outgrown the Hartford site, which contains 14,000-square-feet and has been in use for 45 years. He and VBISD Superintendent Jeff Mills have called the move, a  “win-win” situation.
    Mills previously said the construction calls for adding a “Main Street” hallway, connecting all three Technology Center hallways for better flow of students, security purposes and for bringing forth certain programs to highlight products/services offered by the VBISD.

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