Making their move: County employees moving into new facility
This week, St. Croix County employees at the St. Croix Health Center (1445 N. Fourth St.) on the north side are busy packing up their offices and workstations for a move across town to their new digs in a renovated former grocery store on the city’s south side.
According to Fred Johnson, director of St. Croix County Health and Human Services (HHS), the county will hold a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony, flag-raising and reception at the new facility, dubbed the St. Croix County Services Center, at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, July 1. The new facility will house the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC), Behavioral Health, Children Services, Economic Support, Public Health and Veterans Services.
But there’s still a lot of work to be done before then.
“We are closed Friday and Monday to get everything moved, though we’ll have emergency services open through 911,” Johnson said on Monday. “We’ve got probably over 20,000 medical records that have to be moved. Those are all in extra carts. They’ll be wrapped and brought over probably Thursday this week.”
Johnson said all the staff are working hard to clean up, pack up and get ready as well.
“Movers are coming on Friday to start moving stuff,” Johnson said.
Though the new building has been furnished with more than $350,000 of new furniture mostly from Staples, Johnson said 50-60 chairs and about 10 desks will be moved from the old facility that is quite a bit bigger than the 28,000 square foot space employees will move into.
Though some employees will be disappointed with smaller work spaces, Johnson said the feeling is mostly positive around the Health Center this week.
“With a project this size, there’s going to be some anxiety,” Johnson said. “It’s a change for sure, but generally from the folks that I’ve talked to, the mood is good.”
After a flurry of moving activity on Friday and Monday, the public will get its first chance to see the new space on Tuesday morning during a special opening event.
“At 8 a.m. is when it starts, and we’re planning to have a flag-raising ceremony first,” Johnson said. “We’ll have a couple folks who will likely speak — our County Board Chairman Roger Larson and our County Administrator Pat Thompson. Then we’ll have the ribbon-cutting and for those folks who are able to make it, we’ll give a brief tour and probably have some refreshments afterward.”
Johnson hopes to wrap up the festivities by 9 a.m. so the facility can immediately begin serving consumers.
One thing that will strike visitors immediately upon entering the building is its well-lit reception area and lobby.
“Our front desk area has two receptionists who face the main entrance, so they’ll walk in and immediately be greeted by one of two people,” Johnson said. “Immediately to the left will be the waiting area with seating for 15-20 people. There are ADRC and Veterans Services waiting areas as well.”
The building was renovated to keep the public areas, including conference rooms, meeting rooms and interview rooms, toward the front while employee workspaces, call centers and records are kept secure toward the back of the building with electronic access key cards issued to each employee.
“When people are coming in after hours or possibly for meetings that are county-connected, they don’t have to wander through the building. They’ll be right off the front,” Johnson said. “That’s a little bit of a change from our current building. People can come in past the front desk and really walk into the building all the way to the back. This will be a little bit of a different set up where folks coming in for appointments would need to be escorted behind the front corridor.”