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New county facility opens

BY SHANE ERSLAND | APRIL 17, 2009 7:31 AM

The new Johnson County Health and Human Services Building will open its doors to the public on Saturday after being under construction for roughly a year and a half.

During its meeting Thursday, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors announced the open house for the recently completed structure, located at 855 S. Dubuque St., including a ribbon cutting at 1:30 p.m., and tours by staff till 4 p.m. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, will be the event’s featured speaker.

The building will serve as the home of nine county departments, some of which have moved in. Human Services, General Assistance, Information Technology, Juvenile Court Services, Mental Health and Disabilities, Physical Plant, Public Health, Social Services, and Veterans Affairs will settle into the facility in a few weeks.

Social Services administrative assistant Kelly Bernady said she was impressed with how smoothly the departments have made the transition from their previous homes.

“I’m pretty proud of everybody,” she said.

Construction began on the new building in December 2007. The facility sits across Benton Street from the Johnson County Administrative Building, and the two will be connected by a skywalk.

Bernady said the walkway still needs minor adjustments, but it should be ready within a month.

Because the personnel from the various county departments continually make trips to the Administrative Building, she said, the skywalk will make it easier for employees to conduct business.

Supervisor Sally Stutsman said the skywalk entrance leading into the Administrative Building is not finished yet, but people who want to see the walkway Saturday can still gain admission through the Health and Human Services Building.

“The skywalk will not be accessible to this building, but people will be able to walk along it to get a feel for the way it will be,” Stutsman said.

The supervisors also proclaimed May as Buy Here Month in Johnson County, an effort to put consumers’ money into local businesses.

The move is an ongoing project the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce has been promoting to area residents, Supervisor Pat Harney said.

“The goal is to get people to spend here rather than outside of the community,” he said.


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