The Fulton County Health Unit has outgrown its present health facility, but with the help of grant money the county will soon realize a long awaited dream of a larger facility with 4,500 square feet to be constructed on Highway 9 South at Airport Road in Salem.The Arkansas State Board of Health recently approved a $360,000 grant to help construct the new health facility in Fulton County.Funding for this project is possible thanks to the passage of Act 749 during the 1989 legislative session. The Health Department is now able to transfer unobligated building bond funds to the State Health Building and Local Grant Trust Fund. County Judge Curren Everett is working closely with Gwen Godwin, LHU administrator, to ensure construction of the new facility meets the needs of the citizens of Fulton County. Everett said the Salem Industrial Development Corporation donated about two acres for this project. The state will handle taking care of the bids.Everett said the new facility will include three exam rooms, one laboratory room, a conference room and five offices, with room for expansion. Since funding has been cut across Arkansas, Everett said the county is fortunate to receive a grant for a project that will benefit so many. The caseload has grown tremendously at the present health facility, but with the new building the health department will be able to serve more clients. Everett said he has great admiration and respect for health care workers for their hard work and the teamwork involved with this project.To get this project off the ground the county was required to commit to maintain and operate the building, provide the land to house the facility and provide the parking lot. The county was further required to commit to a 10-percent match which can be met in labor, Godwin said. One of the qualifications for the county to get approved for funding was by outgrowing the present facility. Godwin said the public made it happen by making use of the services the health facility offers, including mammograms, HIV testing, immunizations and the WIC program. Godwin has worked nine years at the Fulton County Health Unit, serving as the group leader in charge of Fulton, Sharp, Izard and Stone counties.It took five years for this project just to be placed on the evaluation list, she said. An average of two to four projects a year receive funding. A project of this size required a joint effort by many officials, she added.At the February quorum court meeting a resolution was passed to name Bob Beavers of Forrest City as architect for the new facility.Godwin said the goal is to hire contractors in the tri-county area to support the local economy.