Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department Purchases Building
As of September 2013, the Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department has gained proprietary rights of the property which they have been leasing since 2005. The structure, which is located at 330 West Main Street, had been acquired by way of a loan from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Development Division in the amount of $725,000. The 20,000 square ft. building was purchased from Main Street Realty for the price of $675,000 and with additional funds of $50,000 for a heating, ventilation and cooling system.
Executive Director at the Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department, Joseph C. Bundy MPA has expressed his gratification with the purchase of the building and explains that there are several benefits in being located in uptown Clarksburg. “Being on West Main Street allows the Health Department to be available to the community. We are directly across from the Court House and easily accessible by the City’s bus route.” Bundy continued “In purchasing this location, we have stabilized our future in the County Seat. Requesting a loan for $725,000 is not an easy process, however, we chose to move forward in the process, so that we may enjoy the benefits of not paying rent. A few large steps in this process were first getting loan approval from Prosecuting Attorney, Joe Shaffer, in allowing the BOH to secure debt and then working with Board of Health (BOH) Vice-Chairman, Martin Howe to apply for the loan.”
Howe, who worked diligently with Joseph C. Bundy and USDA Community Facilities Specialist, Paula Moeller in doing the preliminary work for acquiring the loan, stated, “The board has been looking to move in this direction for a while now. As Clarksburg’s City Manager, I was fortunate enough to have personally worked with the USDA in the past to acquiring similar loans for other city projects. This has been a great location for the Harrison-Clarksburg Heath Department for the last 9 years; therefore, we, as a Board, have confidence that it will help us to create a promising future.”
The Health Department has three (3) primary functions which include; community health education, environmental health, and communicable disease tracking. The Department advocates its commitment to educational health by working with Harrison County Board of Education (HCBOE). As part of their partnership with the HCBOE, the Health Department ensures that all children are properly immunized before attending school. The Department has focused on the education of tobacco, obesity, and the elimination of a sedentary lifestyle.
In addition to their participation in the school system, the Health Department serves a number of clients needs in any of its four (4) clinics within their uptown location. These first rate rooms, provide a comfortable setting for individuals (3 months old to seniors) seeking immunization shots, breast and cervical testing and primary family testing. To further explain their services, Board of Health Chairman, George Shehl M.D., stated, “We are here to protect Public Health.”
Shehl M.D., who currently practices cardiology at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center, continued, “Gaining ownership over the building is no different than owning your home, its money in the bank.” The loan, which has a fixed interest rate at 3.5% over the next 30 years, has allowed the BOH to make payments of $3,250 per month in place of the $5,975 per month they had been paying during their lease agreement. Dr. Shehl went on to explain the importance of owning the building and having it paid for in 30 years. Shehl said “This will make it much easier to enable future Boards of Health to financially support the vital functions of the Harrison County Health Department, on the limited funds they have available”.
Dr. Shehl concluded by elaborating on the benefits of owning the building from a medical stand point. “This building has helped us to maintain our coverage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Laws and provided us with enough space that we may expand the benefits we offer in the future. With more funds becoming available to us, we are able to keep up with many of the medical demands that arise. I believe that in working with Joseph (Bundy), we have been able to solidify the viability of the Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department. ”
Pictured: George Shehl, M.D. and Joseph C. Bundy, MPA.