MOUNT VERNON, Mo. — By the end of next year, the Lawrence County Health Department will have a new home.

County officials broke ground Thursday morning on a $5.3 million, 15,000 square foot facility in Mt. Vernon. The new building will replace the health department’s current facility, a remodeled grocery store they’ve operated out of since 1995.

County commissioners said, along with giving the health department staff the room they need now, it will also give them space to expand in the future.

“It’s really, really important, especially nowadays when more people are in need of health care and the services that they offer with the health department,” said Bob Senninger, Lawrence County Presiding Commissioner.

“We’re actually going to have two garage bays that we’ll be able to pull in four vehicles to do flu clinics, back to school vaccination clinics, lots of things like that,” said Janella Spencer, Lawrence County Health Department Administrator.

Construction is scheduled to be finished around this time next year, and staff are hoping to be fully moved in shortly after that.