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New multipurpose building moving forward in Preston County

KINGWOOD — The collaboration between the Preston County Commissioners and the Preston County Board of Health to build a new multipurpose building is moving forward.

The proposed building will house the health department, WIC and the WVU Extension Office. The basement will be used to provide additional storage space for EMS and the 911 center. The building will be constructed on county property near the 911 center.

During a noon Board of Health meeting Thursday, VJ Davis, director of the Preston County Health Department (PCHD), laid out preliminary renditions of the 10,000-square-foot building. Davis asked that the media not photograph the preliminary drawings due to possible changes. He said the final blueprints and renditions will be available in a couple of weeks.

“The commission is excited about getting started,” Davis said. “The upper floor will be 10,000 square feet. Only 5,000 square feet of the basement will be finished.”

He said the building will cost about $350 per square foot to build, using current building material costs. Davis said once the final plans are completed the commission will start looking for grants to cover the cost of construction.

In other business, board members voted to use money from a $60,000 CDC Infrastructure Public Health Incentive Grant to give their five full-time employees a $5,000 incentive raise per year over the next three years, and the health officer a $1,500 a year incentive for the same period of time.

Board members also voted to give a pay increase of $2,300 to the five full-time permanent employees, and a $1,000 pay increase for the health officer. Money for the raises is from $1.7 million provided to the states health departments to allow them to give their employees the same pay raise other state employees received.

Jim Fields, chairman of the Board of Health was unanimously voted in for another term. Fields’ current term as chairman expires June 30.

Also, Davis said information about ticks has been added to the Preston County Facebook page. He said this is to remind residents there has been an increase of Lyme disease over the past few years.

The next meeting of the Preston County Board of Health will be at noon June 13. The location of the meeting will be announced at a later date.