The Harvey County Commission unanimously approved the purchase of a three-story building at 215 S. Pine St. in Newton at its Nov. 1 meeting. The second floor of the property is the current home of the Harvey County Health Department.

The County will pay $430,000 for the property. The property is owned by Prairie View. The County currently rents the second floor of the building for Health Department services at a rate of $4,050.34 per month.

"We've built a stronger connection with Prairie View having them as the building owner over these years," said Harvey County Health Department Director Lynnette Redington. "We are excited to have a permanent home for our services, one that helps us meet our mission of promoting public health in Harvey County."

Prairie View and Harvey County signed a three-year lease agreement that began Jan. 21, 2020 to continue to use the Pine Street building to house the Health Department. The Health Department has been located there since 2015.

The building purchase will also partly address growing physical space concerns at the Harvey County Courthouse. The addition by the State of Kansas of two judgeship positions for the Ninth Judicial District will expand the space needs of the district court at the Courthouse. Some County departments currently operated at the Courthouse will move to Pine Street in the future.

"We know we need to be identifying solutions for current and future needs. Services in 2022 are not the same as they were in the 1970s," said Harvey County Commission Chair Don Schroeder. "We want to provide welcoming and efficient locations for the public and our employees."

The County will take possession of the property at closing, anticipated within 90 days. The sale is contingent upon the completion and certification of a previously planned elevator repair.

The building currently has other tenants. The County intends to work with each renter through the completion of their current lease agreements.

(Updated Nov. 1, 2022)