The inpatient treatment center would be able to serve up to 60 people at a time.
A health care company plans to transform the abandoned Flagler County Sheriff's Operations Center building into a new inpatient addiction treatment center.
The FCSO evacuated the Operations Center Building in 2018 because of concerns that the structure a sick building responsible for a series of mysterious ailments among staff members, but Health Care Alliance North America expects to renovate it into a facility that could serve 60 people at a time.
"We know we can make a huge impact in the county," Dr. Duke Vinson, of Health Care Alliance North America, said on Flagler Radio's Free For All Friday program on July 29. "You draw people from all over, and trust me when I tell you that there are plenty of people that will need help and will reach out for help."
County Commissioner Joe Mullins, who's pushed the county to add more addiction treatment services, was treated for addiction in Georgia before he moved to Florida. He'd met Vinson there, he said, and had begged him to open a center in Flagler.
"We have been working very diligently in the county on bringing services to this community," Mullins said on the radio program.
Vinson said Health Care Alliance is selective, but saw unmet need in Flagler County.
"It just so happens in the Flagler County catchment area, there are not a lot of options," he said.
He said he'd met with local elected leaders, and felt like the new center would have their support.
"I've been down there to quite a few meetings," Vinson said. "... We were all impressed as a company, which really pushed us forward."
The building had once been a hospital, then sat vacant for years before the county government bought it and renovated it for the Sheriff's Office's use.
Some employees began getting unexplained rashes and respiratory symptoms. They blamed the county-owned building. The county administration and the FCSO's union disagreed about whether the building could be made safe for occupancy.
The county government eventually decided to sell the building and construct a new Sheriff's Operations Center. The FCSO's staff are working from the county courthouse and the county jail's administrative building until the new Ops Center opens this coming fall.
The county sold the building to a private buyer, which sold it to Health Care Alliance North America.
Health Care Alliance North America uses local construction workers for renovations and will be hiring local doctors and physicians, Vinson said.
"We are going to overall bring 50 to 100 jobs into the area and revitalize that abandoned Sheriffs Office," Vinson said. "Now it’s going to be back to a healthcare facility, and it's going to be refitted to fit our needs."