published Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Ground broken on city employee health and wellness center in Chattanooga

by Cliff Hightower
  • photo
    An artist's rendering shows a new health and wellness center for Chattanooga employees.

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• $4.1 million: Cost of city health and wellness center

• 20,000: Square footage of the center

• 70: Number of rooms to be provided in the center for various health initiatives

Source: TWH Architects

Construction is under way on a $4.1 million facility that will house a city employee health and wellness health clinic and pharmacy.

"We're saving money by investing money into our employees," Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield said Friday.

The new 20,000-square-foot facility, located on 11th Street next to the old Farmer's Market property, will house several programs the city has started over the last four years.

Two other centers being used now -- on 10th Street near City Hall and Amnicola Highway -- will be closed.

Donna Kelley, the city's personnel director, said once the new facility opens, city officials will look at whether some of the hours for the pharmacy and health clinic should be expanded.

"The fitness center part is expanded for more hours," she said.

Kelley has said the city has saved more than $10 million over the last five years from its various health care initiatives. Even more savings are possible with the larger facility and the opportunity to offer more programs, she said.

"We know our program works and we can apply it in an expanded way," she said.

Vance Travis, an architect with TWH Architects, said new center will be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified, making it a "green" building.

Work should take 10 to 11 months before the building will be ready to move in, he said.

"We're looking for the building to be completed between November and December," he said.

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