DELAWARE, Oh. – The Health District is celebrating by not only breaking ground at a future home today, but also introducing the public to a new name! Today’s groundbreaking at the impending location of 470 South Sandusky Street in Delaware marks the moment the Health District is officially known as the Delaware Public Health District. A ceremony originally scheduled to be in-person today was cancelled due to COVID-19 caution, therefore the Health Districts asks our community leaders, partners and residents to celebrate with us “in spirit”!
Health Commissioner Shelia Hiddleson explains that the Health District has always been a public health agency and now the new name signifies that very detail.
“When the plan to build was finally solidified, the Board of Health last year voted to change our name to truly encompass our mission which is to ‘promote, protect and improve the health of the community,’” said Hiddleson. “This by definition is the very role and responsibility of public health – and we wanted to capture this concept and identify ourselves with being dedicated to the public’s health!”
Hiddleson added that the Board voted to keep “District” in the name to reflect the fact that while the agency serves the majority of Delaware County, there are portions in the southern area that are annexed to Columbus and Franklin County Public Health agencies. Those particular jurisdictions are not included within the district boundaries.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of the Health District’s almost 90-person team has been handling an extremely large volume of cases, calls and reports. For this reason, transitioning everything to reflect the new name will not happen immediately, but rather in phases.
“It will take a while to convert everything over to our new name, including signage, website graphics and content, and general public information,” said Health District Public Information Officer Traci Whittaker. “If you see ‘Delaware General Health District’ or ‘Delaware Public Health District’ in the same manner somewhere, please know that we are the same agency behind those names working hard to protect your health!”
Whittaker added that a full transition will be completed upon relocating to the new site, which is predicted to be in the fall of 2021.
Last year, the Board of Health studied the needs of the community and the needs of the Health District staff. After recognizing the current location would never meet the capacity demands of a growing population or a growing staff, the decision was made to build. The planned 30,000 square-foot facility will accompany a 200-space parking lot and will have capacity to grow by 10,000 square feet if necessary.
Proceeds from the Health District’s tax levy cannot be used to fund the new building. Levy dollars can only be used for operational expenses, therefore the Board has saved and allocated funds from program fees and permits since 2000 to be used for a new facility purchase or construction.
The Health District is thankful for the agencies that assisted in the planning process that made the new construction project possible, including local community lender First Commonwealth Bank, architect firm Moody Nolan and construction manager Knoch Corporation.
“If this year has taught us anything, we have learned how important the local health department is for the citizens of our community. We are proud to support the Delaware Public Health District and their expansion plan.”
– Frank Reinhard, Vice President – Corporate Banking, First Commonwealth Bank
“Moody Nolan is proud to share in the community’s vision for a new Delaware Public Health District facility. By creating a single level 30,000 square-foot building with an emphasis in wellness, including sufficient parking for all visitors and staff while staying within the city limits, will serve the community for years to come.”
– William Souders, Associate Principal Architect, Moody Nolan
“The Knoch construction team is excited to be part of building a new facility for an organization that is growing to meet the many challenges of public health in our growing community.”
– Douglas J. Ryan, Executive Vice President, Knoch Corporation