The Port Arthur Department of Health details the upgrades, invitations to schedule for late November
Posted at 12:40 p.m. Thursday, December 22, 2022
Construction on a $4.5 million health department relocation project in Port Arthur is underway and is expected to be completed in November 2023.
Corey Rawls of Sigma Engineers said work began in October on the renovation of the former Texas Health and Human Services building.
A rendering of the building shows that 42,000 square feet of space will be renovated to accommodate multiple clinical spaces.
“We’ve had several meetings with (Health Director Judith Smith) to coordinate this and make sure we’re getting everything we need … to meet the correct needs of the city’s health department,” Rawls said.
The various suites include vaccinations, laboratory, pharmacy, WIC, senior services, immunization, TB testing, public health, vital statistics, nurse family partnership, physical fitness, public health training and office spaces.
Each entrance has a new facade at the front, numbered for better customer orientation.
The contractor took possession of the property on Oct. 26.
“We had a pre-construction meeting that same day,” Rawls said.
Subsequent site visits showed external demolition underway on 9 November and internal floor cutting and underground plumbing work on 7 December.
“At the moment they are still cutting in the building. Partition walling has begun in one part of the building,” Rawls said. “Demolition of the exterior has begun. The demolition of the sidewalks in the parking lot has also begun.”
Steel for the entrances will be delivered next week.
In 2020, the Port Arthur City Council approved the $4.5 million project after purchasing the building on 9th Avenue for $1.6 million. The health department is currently located in downtown Port Arthur in a building purchased from Motiva Enterprises two months ago.
Sina Nejad, president of Sigma Engineers, said several structural issues were discovered after the demolition, which led to minor structural revisions to the roof, which will be replaced entirely, as well as some of the gutters.
“The electrical equipment will be delayed for quite some time,” he said. “It’s just the nature of what happens in the industry. Some of the panels have a delivery time of 52 weeks. They are embarrassed to say a year to tell you 52 weeks. That’s a long time.
The city, he said, is providing a generator for the project, which will be used in case electrical equipment is delayed to meet the November deadline.
All existing plumbing and HVAC materials will be replaced.
“We didn’t want to have a unit that, if it fell, the whole building was out,” Nejad said. “We also have the vaccination, we have the TB area – those areas where you won’t recirculate the air in the building because of possible infection. For this reason, all of these air conditioning units had to be changed and brought up to new code.”
He said they don’t expect the project to go over schedule at this time.
“We’re a 30-year-old engineering and architecture firm and this is one of the largest projects we’ve done for the city of Port Arthur,” he said.
The Port Arthur Health Department serves Port Arthur as well as Nederland, Port Neches and Groves.