HHSA prepares to move back to Farmersville


Health and Human Services Agency plans on opening its training center at the Farmersville Civic Center next month

By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN

FARMERSVILLE – The eastern portion of the Farmersville Civic Center will soon be filled with professionals, who’ll bring with them their disposable income and the need to pay at the pump.

At its July 17 meeting, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors approved an item saying that work at the civic center is “substantially complete.” The county is remodeling the 8,000-square foot space at 909 W. Visalia Road in Farmersville to house a new training center for the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). Work on the project included replacing finishes, floor coverings, repainting, carving out a new waiting room in the lobby, as well as communications cabling to allow training related technology improvements. Brooke Sisk, assistant general services director, said the space should be ready by the end of this week and is scheduled to begin using the facility in mid-August. 

Juliet Webb, HHSA Human Services Branch Director, said the additional space was needed due to the size and scope of HHSA, which trains social workers, public health employees, and provides credentialing for many different health-related jobs. HHSA currently does training for its 1,200 employees at the county’s Professional Development Center, 4031 W. Noble Ave., but must share the 27,420-square foot building with other departments, community groups and outside partners. 

“The addition of the Farmersville space also allows for increased capacity to hold Child Welfare Services resource parent training, something we’ve been ramping up in light of the Continuum of Care Reform,” Webb said in an email last week.  

The Farmersville Civic Center was previously home to HHSA’s training from April 2000 to January 2007 when the space was needed as a centralized headquarters for the newly formed Tulare County Fire Department. The fire department occupied the space until last December when the Sheriff’s and fire departments both relocated their administrative offices to the Cigna Building on Akers. 

The Board of Supervisors renewed its lease on the space with the City of Farmersville in October 2017. As part of the five-year lease, HHSA pays $10,598.17 per month. The county’s interest in renewing the lease was significant sigh of relief for the city, which was facing a huge budget gap without the monthly lease payment from the county. With large training sessions starting sometime this year, the city should see a slight uptick in sales tax revenue as those training at the HHSA facility will likely need to fill up their gas tanks and eat out for lunch. 

The Supervisors also increased its contract with Gary Interrante Construction Company from $114,800 to $121,621. The $6,821 difference is primarily to repair and finish work on a wall that was damaged when the partition walls were removed as well as the relocation of a thermostat and timer to accommodate new furniture. 

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