Federal funding for a new dental lab at the Wood County Health District has been a bonus, but it's been complicated to work with the governmental regulations.

Getting through the legalese has pushed the groundbreaking back to spring, according to Health Commissioner Ben Batey.

In May 2016, the district was awarded an $824,997 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant to further the district's mission to expand dental services in the county. The district has three years to implement it.

Batey said he had hoped by this time to have a contractor and to break ground on the lab, which will be located behind the health district at 1840 E. Gypsy Lane Road.

"Some things got delayed with bid process," Batey said. "It's a much more complicated bid process."

The district has the option of putting the project out for bid now, but working in the winter could add $20,000 to the total cost. That money, he said, could be used for equipment in the new lab.

The latest that the lab will open is spring 2019, which is the end of the three-year grant, but Batey is hoping for a late fall 2018 opening.

"The sooner we can get open, the sooner we can start serving Wood County residents," he said.

The complicated federal requirements were more of the language that has to be in contracts and documents, and looking at it from a legal perspective, Batey said.

"We have to make sure every single piece that was required for this type of work is in there."

At Thursday's meeting, the Wood County commissioners heard Nick Foos, facilities director, report that the dental lab addition may be postponed until spring.

"It seems like every step of the way there was a delay," Foos said.

He talked about the dental lab addition status in his capital projects update, and Commissioner Ted Bowlus mentioned it again at the end of the report.

"The dental lab kind of intrigues me as to why it's been in the process for so long," Bowlus said.

County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said there have been issues choosing equipment.

"They haven't done a project like this before," added Kelly O'Boyle, assistant administrator.

Wood County's grant was part of $8.2 million in funding announced by former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell for nine Ohio health centers. The funding was from the Affordable Care Act's Community Health Center Fund, which was extended in 2015 in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.

Once complete, the office will offer full dental services such as cleaning, tooth extraction and X-rays.

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