Ground breaking for Cabarrus Health Alliance

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 21, 2011

By Scott Jenkins
KANNAPOLIS — The city hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking this morning for a new $13.5 million Cabarrus Health Alliance headquarters at the intersection of Dale Earnhardt Boulevard and Mooresville Road.
The site of the planned 61,000-square-foot facility is within sight of the N.C. Research Campus being developed by billionaire David Murdock and before turning shovelfuls of dirt, speakers said they expect collaboration between the Health Alliance and scientists working toward health-related studies at the Research Campus.
Jay White, chairman of the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners, said because of that partnership, work involving the Health Alliance will “resonate not only here, but throughout the world.”
The Cabarrus Health Alliance — the county’s health department — has already been designed as a model public health department by a national panel of public health experts, officials said.
It will be more environmentally friendly in the building materials used and the use of natural daylight to reduce dependence on electrical lighting. The new Health Alliance building will also use electronic check-in, information kiosks and electronic scheduling to help patients and increase efficiency.
Demolition will begin soon on a former paint store and a bank already on the 3.6-acre site and officials say they expect the new Health Alliance to be complete by December.
Financing was in place for the new facility and other improvements around the Research Campus when the economy went into recession, and several at the groundbreaking today said they had doubts it would ever be built. But Kannapolis, Cabarrus County and the N.C. Research Campus worked together to secure the funding, and local governments gave final approval last month.
“There were times when we thought it was not going to work out for us, but here it is,” Kannapolis Mayor Bob Misenheimer said.
And David Murdock, the billionaire benefactor of the Research Campus, said it’s the first sign of more to come. After several years of relative inactivity at the campus due to the economy, interest has begun to pick up.
The Research Campus “has been sitting still a couple of years … but we’re back,” he said.
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