By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – Renovation plans are being designed so Canadian County’s public health clinics and offices can move into one, larger place in central Canadian County.
A 33,000-square foot building near Highway 66 and Evans Road will become the new Canadian County Health Department.
Canadian County Commissioners in late June spent $6 million in federal stimulus funds to purchase the 10-acre property, 6100 E Highway 66 in El Reno city limits.
Lingo Construction has been hired as construction manager for the remodeling project.
The central location will enhance access to public health services for county residents, according to Canadian County Commission Chairman Dave Anderson.
“By law, the county health department must have a presence in the county seat,” Anderson noted. “That is one of the reasons we acquired that (former) Halliburton building.
“It opens up new opportunities for our health department to be in there.”
Canadian County now owns buildings at 1023 E Vandament in Yukon and 100 S Rock Island in El Reno that house the CCHD.
Both the Yukon and El Reno health department sites will move into the newly acquired Canadian County building, on the south side of Highway 66 just west of Canadian Valley Technology Center.
CCHD Regional Director Maggie Jackson wants to ensure the health department’s Canadian County clients have full access to the future location.
“We have a mobile unit that we’re planning on still using throughout the county,” Jackson said. “That’s on our minds.”
Jackson is faced with the task of making sure the health department’s services are “accessible to everybody,” Chairman Anderson noted.
“It’s a challenge,” he said.
‘PHENOMENAL … PRIME LOCATION’
Canadian County officials recently toured the 6100 E Highway 66 property in anticipation of the upcoming renovations.
“It is phenomenal,” District 3 Commissioner Jack Stewart said. “There’s a lot of parking and it’s secured.”
Canadian County Sheriff Chris West noted it’s a “prime location – right off 66.”
Commissioners decided to purchase the existing site instead of building a new space due to rising construction materials and labor costs, Anderson added.
The property formerly housed El Reno’s Halliburton plant, which closed in December 2019 when the company relocated most of the operations to its Duncan field plant.
“The health department (in its budget) has capital outlay savings for future renovation of property,” Anderson noted.
American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal stimulus funds awarded to Canadian County in 2021 covered the $6 million purchase price. The seller was OKC West Industrial Park LLC.
Canadian County was awarded $28.8 million from the COVID-19 pandemic relief package. The county has received half the funds and recently requested the other half.
“I expect it at any time,” Assistant District Attorney Tommy Humphries told Canadian County officers at an Aug. 23 budget hearing. “As soon as we spent some money, they invited us to ask for the second half ($14.4M).”
County commissioners plan to use another $10 million from its ARPA allocation toward development of a new county courthouse complex in El Reno.
Canadian County municipalities have requested shares of the remaining county ARPA money for water and sewer line projects.
Canadian County has six years to spend its stimulus funds, Humphries noted.