Jefferson County Commissioners voted Monday to begin the bidding process for renovations to the Jefferson County Public Health Department. The building may get a makeover in a few months.
Ann Winfield is the pharmacist at the Jefferson County Public Health Department located at 1295 Pearl Street in downtown Beaumont and even though she has a bright personality that lights up any room, she works in a dark and dreary building that she says often leaks.
"We really could use a tarp in here every other week. But right now we have the buckets out and we have our garbage cans and one day I looked up and I said, 'Oh my, God what's happening to me' and every body came and said, "'Miss Annie, are you crying?' and I didn't realize that water was just running down my face because I was steady working," said Winfield.
Working in the indoor rain is not the only problem. In addition to its natural aging and deterioration over the years, the building's foundation needs work. That faulty foundation is causing structural damage, rendering part of the building unusable for anything except storage.
Winfield says, "I tell you what, there is no such thing as going to your own room, because there's no place for them to go."
Monday Jefferson County Commissioners set a budget of $600,000 for the project.
"We felt comfortable with proceeding so the specifications were provided by the engineers to allow purchasing to put out bid packages," said County Judge Jeff Branick.
In addition to the structural improvements, according to health department employees, the renovation will take their four tiny exam rooms and turn them into five or six rooms with plenty of space in which to do an exam. The location of the pharmacy will be moved, creating a better flow for patients who visit the clinic. Winfield says, the improvements will be good for everyone including those who visit the clinic.
"But really they will be truly excited because they really deserve something nice," said Winfield.
Judge Branick also tells 12 News, the bid process should take about four months. The funds for the upgrades will come out of general tax revenues.