City of LaFayette accepts bid for Community Health Center

Published 9:55 am Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The City of LaFayette voted to accept a bid for the renovation of the Community Health and Wellness Center and telehealth station as a part of the Rural Health Project. After a unanimous vote, the city council awarded the bid to Forsyth Building Company Incorporated based out of Anniston, Alabama in the amount of $302,282.

The Rural Health Project is a community-based initiative led by Auburn University to provide accessible and innovative healthcare solutions to areas that may lack the necessary resources. According to Hollie Cost, the Assistant Vice President of Outreach and Public Service at Auburn University, the project was started as the Auburn University Outreach began to explore options to expand healthcare access to regions heavily impacted by COVID-19. 

“The program really got started because our vice president of outreach Dr. Rick Cook recognized that there were some significant health disparities in our community,” Cost said. “We wanted to determine how we as a university could work with the community to help address the issue and provide more quality healthcare options.”

Email newsletter signup

One of the biggest aspects of the program is the development of the Chambers County Community Health and Wellness Center, which will be a physical location in LaFayette where the services developed by the Rural Health Project will be housed. The center will be located at 440 Ninth Ave SW next to the Chambers County Department of Human Services office. The building, which was previously used as a medical center, requires multiple updates before it can be reopened. City Clerk Louis Davidson gave insight into what the renovations would entail.

“We are going to be remodeling and doing some work to the inside of the building,” Davidson said. “We are putting in an accessibility ramp, new restrooms and redoing some of the rooms in the back so that they can do treatments, particularly the treatment address COVID with vaccines and testing.”

Davidson also elaborated on how the bid process took place. 

“Bids were submitted and opened, and we had one bidder,” Davidson said. “Initially, it was a little over budget, but we went back and made some adjustments with the bidder to get it down to what we deemed as manageable.” 

Additionally, Davidson took time to assure the council that the money used to fund this project would not be from the city’s budget but rather from a grant awarded to LaFayette by the state of Alabama.

“There was a grant at the county commission that we applied for and received through the [Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs],” Davidson said. “The funds from that grant will cover the entire cost of this construction at the minimum.”  

After a brief discussion, a motion was made by Councilman David Ennis to approve the bid and was unanimously supported by the council. As of now, the community center is set to open in January of 2023.