The building once had toxic mold in its basement.
WARREN -- The Trumbull County Board of Health building is becoming a more healthful workplace, thanks to $188,000 worth of renovations.
Trumbull County commissioners are paying for the work through a loan, in the form of issuing a bond. The county hired contractors, but its building maintenance staff and the county engineer are helping.
"That's our whole idea here. We're trying to save some money," said Al DeVengencie, the county's building and vehicle maintenance manager.
The brick building at 176 Chestnut Ave. N.E. was structurally sound and has a good foundation. "There was no reason, really, not to move forward and do the work we're doing," he said.
Work could possibly be finished in May on a structure the county at one point last year thought about abandoning.
The department's health clinic, inspectors, educators and administrators are inside and have continued working since renovations got under way. The roof, ceilings and lighting have been replaced, downspout piping is done and all sewer lines have been checked.
"We haven't had a drop of water in the basement since we've done that," DeVengencie noted.
In May 2002, the building was found to have poisonous mold in the basement. The roof and windows also leaked, and front steps crumbled.
All wood paneling there has been removed, and an all-new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system ensures that any of those old particles are now out of the air flow, he explained.
Carpeting work is beginning, and good weather should soon allow paving in the parking lot and concrete work on the front entrance steps and ramp. The new windows need to be installed.
Commissioners are legally responsible for providing the department with a home, and at first, they wanted to find it other quarters. The health department was moved to Chestnut Avenue in the 1990s from the top floor of the Administration Building, which was renovated.
A year ago, the county began talks with another potential landlord on North Park Avenue. There was only one bidder for leasing space to the county -- and renting a building would have cost between $80,000 and $100,000 a year, officials said then.
By November, the commissioners decided the health department should not move and that the county's building should be renovated.
D.J. Porter Co. of Youngstown is general contractor; Horton Electrical Contracting, Warren, electrical work; and Thompson Mechanical, Warren, heating and air conditioning.
"I think we've taken the necessary steps," DeVengencie said.