Health and Human Services Campus

Overview

The Peoria County Board is considering creating a Health and Human Services Campus to house not only the Peoria City/County Health Department, but also the Sustainability and Resource Conservation Department, Regional Office of Education, and Peoria County Coroner's Office.  The need for a new Health Department campus, in particular, has been considered for a number of years, and the Health Department has been saving funds in anticipation of needing either a new building or substantial repairs.  Beginning in 2021, discussions with the Peoria County Board and Board of Health increased as a new funding stream became available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). 

The Peoria County Board was also interested in the prospect of better utilization of space and facilities across a number of County programs and departments, specifically those house in facilities outside the Courthouse. Concerns included:

  • Functionality and age of the current Peoria City/County Health Department, which consists of multiple buildings and additions over the span of decades.
  • Functionality and age of the Coroner's Office building, which was originally constructed as a juvenile detention center
  • The Election Commission Office, which is located in a rented space
  • The multiple locations of the Regional Office of Education, which has staff in four different locations throughout Peoria County

Since Fall 2021, Peoria County Board Members and staff have worked with consultants to gather and evaluate an extensive amount of data on the community these departments serve, the requirements of each office and space needed, how services could be improved, and what options are available for a new space.

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Timeline

  • September 9, 2021 - Peoria County Board approves contract with Farnsworth Group for architectural services and River City Construction for Construction Manager at Risk for preconstruction and construction management. These firms were tasked with evaluating the current public health infrastructure needed. This included:
    • Evaluating mandated versus discretionary services
    • Service delivery mapping
    • Space programming and design elements
    • Renovations versus replacement of the current facility
    • If replacement, site location evaluation
  • January 13, 2022 - Peoria County Board votes to not renovate the current Health Department campus, and instead will look into building a new or rehabbing a suitable alternative space. Farnsworth Group and River City Construction presented an existing facility assessment to the Peoria County Board. They studied the existing facilities, including how they are currently utilized and their existing condition, structure, and building systems. Farnsworth met also met with staff at the Health Department, Coroner's Office, Election Commission, and Regional Office of Education to more fully understand their needs and services.

    Based on their evaluation and data collection, the consultants recommended:
    • The Health Department not renovate its current buildings. It would be more beneficial to build new or find a new location to renovate. They concluded the cost difference to build a new state-of-the-art, energy-efficient facility specifically designed to function for the Health Department's needs would be approximately 1%-2% less than renovating the existing facility and adding the additional space required to consolidate services. 
    • The Coroner's Office not renovate its current building. It would be more beneficial to build new or find a new location to renovate.
    • The Regional Office of Education departments would benefit from consolidating at the new HHS campus, with the exception of the Regional Learning Center located at Wildlife Prairie Park.
    • The Election Commission to remain where they are, and there was no need to renovate its space.
  • January 2022 - Board members, Farnsworth Group, and County staff meet in small groups to discuss services offered by the various departments involved, how services are provided, recognize community partners at these locations, and determine prioritization for co-location. 
    Small-Group Meeting Documents - January (PDF)
  • March 2022 - Board members, Farnsworth Group, and County staff again meet in small groups to gain an understanding of the users, both current and eligible, for each organization, acknowledge the programming needed to serve both staff and clients, and recognize a zip code base consistent with the data gathered to assist in site selection. Included in the linked PDF are many demographic maps that illustrate the departments' user base.
    Small-Group Meeting Documents - March (PDF)
  • April 2022 - Board members and County staff received a Site Criteria Matrix from Farnsworth Group. These outlined 29 potential sites and scored them by programming, financial, users, outreach, and sustainability criteria. Small-Group Meeting Document - April (PDF)

    Out of a possible score of 249, Farnsworth found these to be the top locations:
    • 232 - Current Health Department location on Sheridan Road (new build)
    • 211 - Former Sterling Middle School (acquire, new build)
    • 210 - University of Illinois College of Medicine land on Martin Luther King Junior Dr (acquire, new build)
    • 209 - Current Coroner's Office/Children's Advocacy Center location on Gift Ave (new build)
    • 207 - Former "County Farm" land near Peoria County Jail (new build)
    • 200 - Former Heddington Oaks building (now slated to be sold to UnityPoint Methodist in 2022)

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  • May 12, 2022 (tentative) -  The Peoria County Board will vote on where the new HHS campus will be constructed. Board members will utilize the information gathered and presented in the previous small group discussions and the April Health Committee. The May board meeting agenda will be posted at https://www.peoriacounty.gov/agendacenter at least 2 days before the meeting.

Future Discussion

Discussion on the facility size, the full scope of the project, and final funding mechanisms will happen at future board meetings. 

Funding

The exact funding sources for the Health and Human Services Campus are dependent on a future decision and vote by the Peoria County Board. Currently proposed are a variety of funding mechanisms, none of which involve raising property taxes. These numbers and sources are still tentative and subject to change.

  • $14 million - American Rescue Plan Act funds
  • $2 million - Health Fund Reserves (savings)
  • $1.5 million - Federal allocations/grants
  • $300,000 - Gift of Hope funds
  • $250,000 - Sustainability Department funds