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Davison County nurses move to new site at former co-op building

With a few stacks of boxes waiting to be unpacked, Davison County’s community health nurses welcomed patients to their new clinic Tuesday afternoon in Mitchell.

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The clinic is located in the former Central Electric Co-op building at 1420 N. Main St. Davison County bought the building late last year for $575,000, with the intention of renovating it to include space for the new clinic, a larger meeting room for the county’s commissioners and several other county offices.

Late last week, the nurses and other staff began the process of moving from their old clinic, located at 115 W. 12th Ave., to the new, larger space. After a labor-intensive moving process — many staff members used their own vehicles to help move equipment and other items from the old clinic — the new clinic was up and running by Tuesday afternoon, according to Natalie VanDrongelen, the clinic’s manager. It didn’t take long for patients to find the nurses at their new location.

“This afternoon, we’ve been busy,” she said in an interview Tuesday afternoon with The Daily Republic. “They’re finding us.”

The biggest difference, by far, between the old clinic and the new clinic is the size. The new clinic is at least twice the size of the old one, which will take some getting used to, VanDrongelen said.

“We can’t just yell down the hallway anymore,” she said.

The clinic’s nurses provide a variety of community health services, including testing for pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, prenatal care and immunizations for children, as well as free flu shots during flu season. The nurses also provide health services for the Mount Vernon and Ethan school districts.

The additional space in the new clinic will benefit other nurses and staff who often visit from other counties to work with nurses or patients in Davison County.

“We’ll actually have room for them to work,” VanDrongelen said. “It’s just nice not to have to put people in a break room.”

Though Davison County provided the space, state government provided the nurses with new furniture for the clinic.

“With both the county and the state working together, I think they’ve done a great job,” VanDrongelen said.

A $270,000 renovation of the entire building that began in May is nearly complete, excluding some electrical work and other finishes, according to Mark Puetz, of Puetz Corp., which is managing the project. The entire renovation will be finished within a week, Puetz said.

According to Davison County Commission Chairman John Claggett, the county’s veterans service office will move in next, followed by the welfare office and then the commissioners. Claggett expects the total cost of the project, including the purchase of the building, will be about $1 million.

The commissioners’ new, larger meeting space has room to seat at least 80 people, Claggett said. That’s far more than the commissioners’ current meeting room at the courthouse.

“That’s an important thing for us, especially when we have major issues such as drainage or road

locales,” he said.

Claggett hopes technological upgrades in the new space will allow the commissioners to better connect with constituents.

“My hope for the future is to be able to televise meetings and to be able to have them on the Net,” he said.

The relocation of some of the county’s offices was undertaken in part to make room for the expansion of court services and the new drug court at the Davison County Courthouse, Claggett said.

“We’re answering a lot of those calls as well as taking care of business on our end,” he said.