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Pasco approves building purchase for new Health Department site

Pasco commissioners agree to $2.9 million purchase price for the Summit Medical Center building
West Pasco Government Center.
West Pasco Government Center. [ Special to the Times ]
Published Mar. 23
Updated Mar. 23

NEW PORT RICHEY — Florida Department of Health services in West Pasco will consolidate at a new site with the unanimous Pasco County Commission vote Tuesday to buy the Summit Medical Center building in Hudson for $2.9 million.

The two-story, 33,000-square-foot building, located just east of U.S. 19 at 7509 State Road 52, will eventually house the health department functions now included in offices on Little Road and on Main Street in New Port Richey.

The move will mean the west side office will become “a one-stop shop” for all the services sought by health department clients, explained Mike Napier, Pasco’s health department director. Clinic services, WIC services assisting low-income women, infants and children and environmental services through the health department and dentistry through Premier Health will all move into the new site, he said.

Mike Napier is the director of the Pasco County Health Department.
Mike Napier is the director of the Pasco County Health Department. [ Times ]

The new location will also allow more coordination among the various programs geared to some of the same recipients, Napier explained.

He said the idea of finding the more centrally-located and consolidated space has been discussed for a number of years, and several sites have been considered. Napier said he and the county believe that the space will provide the west side Health Department service needs for years to come, especially since the COVID-19 crisis has helped them think about the potential of expanded tele-work opportunities for employees in the future.

“We feel like this is a good location,” Napier said.

County officials estimated that the remodeling costs to prepare the 20-year-old building for the new tenants could run $1.9 million, but Napier said he hopes that the cost will lower. The building is much newer than several that had been considered, and because the structure is already medical offices, Napier said it should make for an easy conversion.

Because Pasco is buying just one of the buildings in the three-building office complex, the county will also have to go through a process of dividing the health department offices off the development plan for the site. There could also be a 90-day delay for a current tenant in the building to leave, according to the commission agenda packet. That sets the estimated opening of the new office in mid- to late-2022.

Napier said he is optimistic about the move, and he is already meeting with his staff to plan it. “I’d like to think that we can get in before the end of the year,” he said.