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Southwestern District Health Unit settling in across town

The Southwestern District Health Unit has a new place to call home. The public health entity moved from their old building, just north of Walmart on Highway 22, to a new location next to Dunn Bros. Coffee in March and now they are in the process ...

Doris Lanz, left, and Emelia Mosbrucker, receptionists at the Southwest District Health Unit get ready to take phone calls on Wednesday at the unit's new building near Dunn Bros. Coffee. (Press Photo by Sydney Mook)
Doris Lanz, left, and Emelia Mosbrucker, receptionists at the Southwestern District Health Unit get ready to take phone calls on Wednesday at the unit's new building near Dunn Bros. Coffee. (Press Photo by Sydney Mook)

The Southwestern District Health Unit has a new place to call home.

The public health entity moved from their old building, just north of Walmart on Highway 22, to a new location next to Dunn Bros. Coffee in March and now they are in the process of settling into their new home.

Sherry Adams, the health unit's executive officer, said the new building allows all of their programs to be under one roof.

She said previously many of their grant programs were in a separate building and they were starting to outgrow both of the buildings. So, they decided in January that it was time they start either at looking to expand their current offices or move entirely.

A short time later, their current building came onto the market and by March, they had signed the papers and quickly got themselves moved in by the end of that month.

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"It's been very exciting," she said. "It's been a lot of long days, a lot of hours, but it's kind of exciting for us because we didn't have to build the building."

The approximately $2.4 million building, which was purchased with some help from the Oil Impact Grants, was previously home to Applied Medical and the CHI St. Joseph's walk-in clinic. Adams said having a building that has had a history of medical care was an added bonus because it meant less renovations and that some of their necessary items, such as a sink in each room, were already there.

The new space also offers more privacy for clients. The building has five private exam rooms compared to their old building which mostly involved clients going into offices rather than specific exam rooms. There are also three rooms dedicated to WIC patients, a program dedicated to women, infant and children, which allows those clients to receive a more relaxed, specialty care.

The new building has a tobacco cessation room and a room that can be used to talk to people who may come in with severe depression or who just need to talk to someone for awhile. Adams said that people seem to really like the new facility so far.

"A lot of the clients have really had just positive things to say," Adams said. "They like the openness. They like the availability just to be able to go into a separate room. They've always liked public health in that aspect, but they've said it just looks so much more like a health clinic."

The health unit is also home to three state agency representatives-the North Dakota Department of Disease and Control, Department of Food and Lodging, and a state social worker who works with North Dakota Health Tracks.

Mike Walton, an inspector with food and lodging, spent most of the past 30 years working in and out his car. He said having an office is exciting and makes getting things done a bit easier now.

"It's just really nice," he said. "It's going to be really nice because we're changing the way we're doing our work from paper to inputting all the information on a computer and it's just nice having room to do it."

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Doris Lanz, who began working for the Southwestern District Health Unit in 1998 and currently serves as one of the receptionists at the front desk, said she is excited to be in the new building because there is more space up front.

"I love it," Lanz said. "There's lots of room and we're all together finally."

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