Will County Health Department
Health departments are lifelines to the communities they support. Whether it’s mental health services or dental examinations, their resources are critical when it comes to encouraging healthy habits. Will County Health Department in Joliet, Illinois is no exception!
The original Will County Health Department was in dire need of repairs, so much so that designing and building a new facility was more cost-effective than renovating their existing property. That’s where Kluber Architects + Engineers comes into play, serving as the architect for the new building.
When Was the Original Will County Health Department Built?
The original Will County Health Department was built in 1923. Before it became the Health Department, it was first Will County Tuberculosis Sanitorium, which opened in March of 1925. It was a resource for those diagnosed with tuberculosis and featured a courtyard where patients could have controlled access to sunshine and fresh air.
As treatment options for the disease evolved, it became clear that Will County needed an in-patient treatment option. As such, a nearby nursing home became the new resource for tuberculosis patients, and the Will County Health Department officially moved into the building in the early 1950’s.
In the almost 100 years the building was open, it was home to several community services, ranging from animal control to Meals on Wheels. It may have been a critical resource to locals, but over time, the building started to show its age.
An Aging Facility
Though the first Will County Health Department building served the community for many years, over time, it desperately needed repairs. As Will County grew, so did its need for a health department facility that could withstand additional services and more employees than in years past. The existing facility simply could not support the services needed by the community.
It was essential for the Health Department to ensure their facility could handle the capacity of the community and house the many services they offer. As such, the decision was made to construct a new Will County Health Department as part of a county-wide capital improvement project.
The design of the new Will County Health Department facility began with an understanding of the needed building spaces. Project Manager Chris Hansen worked closely with the client to ensure each of their program areas met its long term facility goals. Based on the varied services provided by the Health Department, this became a complex building program with the primary programs being:
- Family Health
- Vital Records
- Environmental Health
- Tuberculosis Clinic Services
- Behavioral Health
- Emergency Preparedness
- Department Administration
As part of the programming and design phases of the project, our team held regular meetings with department leaders and staff to integrate their thoughts and comments into the design solution. For example, the Behavioral Health space provides services to adults, children, adolescents, and families. This requires separate waiting spaces and consult spaces for the different client age groups. The final design resulted in 30 private consult rooms, separated by a shared work areas and group spaces. Also included in the final design was a multi-purpose room equipped to serve as an Emergency Operations Center.
To maximize efficiency and simple building navigation, there is a direct line of sight to each of the building areas from the lobby. This helps eliminate confusion that visitors sometimes experience when entering public buildings. Most importantly, it was critical to create spaces that are as welcoming as one would experience in a private care setting.
Will County Health Department
Size of Project
70,000 Square Feet
- Electrical Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Safety & Security
- Structural Engineering