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Joliet

Will County picks firm to design next health department building

Batavia-based group will assist county

The Will County Health Department is seen in Joliet
The Will County Health Department is seen in Joliet

JOLIET – Construction hasn’t started yet on Will County’s second of three major capital projects, but planning will now officially start for the third.

The Will County Board on Thursday approved a contract with Kluber Architects & Engineers of Batavia for architectural and engineering of the next Will County Health Department building. The county will pay Kluber $59,505.

Kluber will work with the county and the health department to determine which services are needed in the new building, as the federal government continues to propose changes to health-related policies that have trickled down to local health departments.

The health department has also had to cut staff in recent years because of cuts and unpredictability of funding from the state of Illinois, but Executive Director Sue Olenek has said staffing cuts aren’t coming this year.

Kluber was selected as the top choice among a handful of firms that made presentations to a county ad-hoc selection committee.

A budget has not yet been discussed for the new health department building, according to county documents.

There are also questions to be answered about the location of the new building.

In February, Olenek proposed approaching the city of Joliet to see whether officials would support the improvement of failing infrastructure surrounding the current health department at 501 Ella Ave. Olenek said there are at least a dozen power outages and water main issues that impact service each year.

The site is under consideration for a new building, but the county will look at a couple of other sites and may have to ponder land acquisition costs, according to board documents.

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