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Health Department's Community Center wins award

Thu May 26, 2016

The DuPage County Health Department's Community Center was awarded the 2016 Merit Award for new construction from the Chicago Building Congress (CBC) on the evening of May 24.

The Chicago Building Congress has celebrated the building industry since 1956 by singling out outstanding architectural projects in the Chicagoland area in nine different categories.  The DuPage County Health Department's Community Center, located on the county campus in Wheaton, was the winner of the award for new construction in the suburbs.  The CBC noted that the project displays a distinctive design, outstanding construction, and a positive impact on the surrounding community. 

Wight & Company, of Chicago, Illinois, served as the architectural and engineering firm on the project.  Wight Construction Services, Inc. provided the general contracting services, while Edge Associates Inc. and Technical Design Services Inc. were consultants.   

Jason Dwyer, the Vice President of Wight & Company, said that award is an outstanding testament to the team of construction trades as well as the leadership from the DuPage County Health Department and the County Board of Health.   "Our collaboration has resulted in a building that benefits the surrounding community by providing access to care and much needed programs, in a space that is welcoming and sanctuary-like."

Linda Kurzawa, the President of the DuPage Board of Health, agreed that the board had the combined goal of providing more efficient care in the most budget-wise manner.  "We are proud that we were able to construct a 33,000 square foot building to serve the needs of the community without raising taxes or incurring one dollar of debt," said Kurzawa.

Kurzawa said that the feedback from employees and from the community has been positive from the moment the Community Center opened its doors in October of 2015.

Karen Ayala, the Executive Director of the DuPage County Health Department, noted that the Department revitalized care in an integrated setting by moving some of the department's services to the new building.  Ayala also noted that the Community Center allowed the Health Department to expand opportunities with community partners, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) DuPage, which rents space at the building and offers programs to clients in a public/private strategic alliance. 

The Community Center houses the department's "Crisis Services," which coordinated care for 1,199 clients being discharged from various area hospitals in 2015 alone.  The Community Center also offers programming on health and wellness, support groups, and mental health recovery.  Ayala called the Community Center "a model for integrated health care that will provide more efficient services at a lower cost for clients and the taxpayers of DuPage County."            

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