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After 60 Years

Alexandria Health Department gains new home.

There have been an array of 60th anniversary remembrances this summer, starting with D-Day and the dedication of the World War II Memorial to the USO Weekend.

But there's one that has gone practically unnoticed — one that directly impacts the lives of many Alexandrians.

On Aug. 16, the Alexandria Health Department moved from 517 North Saint Asaph St. to 4480 King St.

They had been at the former location for 60 years, "but, let me assure everyone our services haven't changed. They've only improved," said Michael L. Wiener, administrator, Alexandria Health Department.

Following the formal move on Aug. 16, clinical appointments began on Aug. 23, according to Wiener.

THE NEW HEADQUARTERS offers the department the opportunity to not only expand services to its clients but also to deliver those services in a more inviting atmosphere.

With 38,700 square feet distributed over four floors, there is more than ample space for a more personalized registration area, a children's play area, diagnostic labs, vastly improved dental section, and to Wiener's delight, "finally a real storage area."

As noted on the temporary sign facing King Street, total cost of renovations were approximately $1.3 million. This does not take into account the cost of the building, estimated by Wiener to be more than $8 million.

"I'm impressed. It's a great building and very functional. We waited a long time. But, it was worth the wait," said Dr. Charles Konigsberg Jr., health director.

"The clinic is not only functional but also visually pleasing. It is well lit with good equipment. It was designed and built to be a public health clinic," Konigsberg said.

SOME OTHER IMPROVEMENTS over the previous location include: a newly expanded registration area, a state-of-the-art dental clinic with four chairs, a pre- and post-natal area with a special children's play section, and adequate parking for both employees and clients.

On the first level is the dental clinic and the newly expanded storage area. The main level — actually the second level of the building due to the topography of the site — consists of clinical services and the vastly improved registration/records area.

Environmental health, laboratories and staff offices consume the third floor. Administrative offices are on the fourth.

"We also have two van shuttles operating daily from the Braddock Metro Station to our front door every hour on the hour," Weiner said.

They also serve other departmental sites at 3701 W. Braddock Road, 3802 Executive Avenue, and 1200 N. Howard St., according to Weiner.

Complementing this service, "We also have two excellent bus routes that serve the building. Some of those buses stop directly at the building," Wiener said.

"The only mishap in the move was that on the two days it took to complete the move it rained constantly. The movers were working to midnight both days to get it accomplished," Konigsberg said.

"It's been more than a 10-year process since we started to push for a new facility. That was begun by my predecessor," he said. "I've only been here five years." Prior to Alexandria, Konigsberg was Delaware's state health director.

In addition to health services, the department can provide information and forms enabling clients to obtain copies of birth and death certificates, or to correct birth certificates. Certified copies of recent death certificates are available on site at $10 per copy.

STANDARD SERVICES provided by the department include:

* Clinical and Nursing Services: Well Child Clinic; immunization; public health nurses; nutritional services; dental; adolescent health; and family planning.

* HIV/AIDS & STD Services: testing and counseling; drug assistance program; primary medical care case management; sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic; and STD/HIV partner counseling services.

For additional information call 703-838-4400 or TTY/TDD 1-800-828-1120. The department's web site is www.AlexHealth.com.