WEST JORDAN — Construction for a long-awaited public health center in West Jordan officially broke ground Tuesday.
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams joined West Jordan city leaders and county health officials to celebrate the future West Jordan Public Health Center, which will become the county's second regional health department building after more than four years of planning.
"As our population has grown in the Salt Lake Valley, we've had to grow and adapt so we are in the right place at the right time to help families stay healthy," McAdams said. "Today marks a big step forward toward our goal of building a healthy community for Salt Lake County's families."
The new health center, which will be built in the parking lot near West Jordan City Hall at 8000 Redwood Road, will accommodate a growing demand for public health services and the county's goal to expand its public health services to the valley's southwest residents, the mayor said.
The $7 million, 20,000-square-foot facility will act as a new home for the county's Women, Infants and Children program and house a new immunization clinic, the county's community health division, and a vital records office — the first in the region.
About 50 employees will staff the new facility, said Nicholas Rupp, communications coordinator with the Salt Lake County Health Department. Most will be moved from other county facilities such as the West Jordan WIC clinic, while several will be hired for the new immunizations clinic, he said.
The center is slated for completion in July or August next year.
"Every day people's lives are touched by public health," said Gary Edwards, executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department. "We are excited to be able to expand our presence here, not just for the residents of West Jordan, but also for the residents of southwest Salt Lake County."
West Jordan City Councilwoman Judy Hansen, said the center's location near a TRAX station will increase convenient access to health services for residents who have had to travel farther north for immunizations or health records.
"It's a much-needed facility," Hansen said.
Iliana MacDonald, WIC bureau director, said she and other WIC employees are thrilled for their clinic to relocate to the new facility. She said the clinic's current location is cramped and its waiting room is often filled during busy hours.
"We've done the best we can with what we have, but there is so much potential if we move to a larger facility," MacDonald said.
Currently, the West Jordan WIC clinic serves about 3,700 of those who qualify for the program, which provides low-income women, infants and children with nutrition education, counseling, food, and access to health care. MacDonald said with a larger facility, the clinic could potentially serve 1,000 to 2,000 more people.
West Jordan mother Carla Montilla said she takes her five young children to the West Jordan WIC clinic every three months. She said she's looking forward to the new health center and the added services it will provide to help her keep her children healthy.
"It will be so good for the community," Montilla said.