Ground broken on new Public Health building

Carl A. Nelson & Company joined Des Moines County officials and employees, Ambassadors from the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, and representatives of CMBA Architects to break ground Sept. 19, 2023, on a new Des Moines County Public Health Building in Burlington, Iowa. (CANCO)

8 months, 3 weeks ago

The 8,000 square-foot, $4 million facility for Des Moines County, Iowa, is the product of an American Rescue Plan grant of $7.5 million.

Hours after approving bids, Des Moines County officials were joined Sept. 19, 2023, by county employees, Chamber of Commerce ambassadors and representatives of the construction management and architectural firms involved in the project to break ground on a new, 8,000-square-foot, approximately $4 million public health building. Carl A. Nelson & Company is engaged in the project as Construction Manager Agent.

The new facility, funded with dollars from a federal American Rescue Plan Act grant of $7.5 million, replaces a cramped and difficult-to-access building in downtown Burlington, Iowa, where public health has operated since 1944. The location of the new building, on the former site of an elementary school, will address the limitations of the current space with a level site, sufficient off-street parking and a modern clinical and administrative rooms inside. On the drawing board, and the dreaming board, for many years, officials were happy to be moving forward.

"Finally! It's exciting to actually break ground on a project that's been a year-and-a-half in the planning, and a dozen years in the dreaming," said Des Moines County Board of Supervisors Vice-Chairman Tom Broeker, who has helped to shepherd the building through design and pre-construction planning as the county's representative on the project team. 

Broeker cited the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars that have made the project possible, but at the same time resulted in inflation that complicated the planning process and kept the project for kicking off sooner.

"But we made it, and here we are," he said. "Our difficulties will be quickly forgotten. What will be remembered is the result. Des Moines County residents will have safe and convenient access to the excellent public health services they need, deserve and depend on."

Christa Poggemiller, the Des Moines County Public Health director, said the building represents an ongoing commitment to the health of the residents of Des Moines County. She said the COVID-19 pandemic showed the clear limitations of the existing facility, which can be addressed in the new building designed by CMBA Architects in Des Moines, with such features as better parking, lobby space and a drive-through lane for vaccinations.

"This new facility will allow public health to grow, and better serve the community," Poggemiller said.

Representing Carl A. Nelson & Company at the event, Chairman Tim Seibert, P.E., expressed the company's gratitude for the opportunity to serve the county and local residents, and noted that as a Burlington-based company, the facility and services will have a potential direct benefit to the company's employees. He also noted the four of the five bid packages for construction were awarded to Des Moines County contractors.

"We're really pleased to team up with these people and continue to make this project a success for Des Moines County," Seibert said.

A rendering by CMBA Architects shows the planned new Des Moines County Public Health Building in Burlington, Iowa.