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— SILOAM SPRINGS - Words couldn't describe how happy he was when the construction bid for the health clinic in Siloam Springs was accepted.

Loy Bailey, director of the Benton County Health Unit, was glad it was approved and to see work started at 101 W. University St.

The long-awaited clinic of the Benton County Health Unit will soon be open as long as everything goes as prescribed, Bailey said.

"We hope to be in there by the end of September," he said.

"We're trying to be a little bit on the conservative side."

Benton County QuorumCourt purchased the building to be used as a health clinic for $175,000 in July 2008.

Renovations were expected to cost $4,000 when the building was purchased.

Now, total renovations will cost no more than $76,620.

The quorum court approved the $76,620 bid in June to include 10 percent for overages.

Construction on the 2,500-square-foot building started early this month.

Sumrall Construction Co. of Hiwasse was hired as the contractor to renovate the building.

It should be ready for move in by Sept. 4.

For the first time, the Siloam Springs health clinic will be in a building the county owns.

The health unit has leasedspace in buildings throughout Siloam Springs for about the past 28 years to be used as a health clinic, Bailey said.

The clinic was previously in Siloam Springs in 2007 when it lost its lease on a building at Main and Maxwell streets.

The new clinic will function like the previous one did, except that now it will be in a more permanent location.

"We're there for the long run," Bailey said.

It will be staffed by two clerks, a registered nurse and a licensed practical nurse.

Services will include "virtually the full gamut of what we have to offer," Bailey said.

More information on when services will start being offered will be announced nearer to the time the clinic opens.

Community, Pages 9 on 07/29/2009

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