Gwinnett County planning $25 million expansion of OneStop Centerville facilities; federal funds will be used to pay for construction

Residents of southern Gwinnett County may be getting increased access to public health, mental health and early learning services in their backyard within the next two years.

County officials joined U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Ga., recently to announce a $25 million expansion of the OneStop Centerville facility. Construction of the expansion will be paid for with American Rescue Plan Act funds. County funds are also being used on the project.

“As we had the COVID task force and as members of the county commission and public health agencies sat on that, we would put together maps of where services were available, where people could get things like vaccines,” Bourdeaux said.

“And, we would always notice there was sort of this dark area down here in south Gwinnett where we knew we needed more services. So, I’m so proud of (Commission) Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson and Commissioner Jasper Watkins, who represents this area, and their advocacy of this area.”

The expansion is expected to offer additional space for the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Health Departments, View Point Health and the Head Start early childhood learning program at OneStop Centerville. It will have space for other county partners as well.

County officials said construction is expected to begin by the end of the year and the goal is to have it open by 2024.

“This expansion of county services in south Gwinnett will provide programs like creating safe, livable and healthy communities, mental health (and) family services as we sustain Gwinnett’s standards of excellence in providing much-needed resources to this area,” Hendrickson said.

The human services center is located at the Centerville Community Center, library and senior services campus on Bethany Church Road. So far, the plans for the expansion exist only as conceptual site plans.

But, there are some details that officials have released which give some insight into what the expansion will look like.

The expansion will include 42,000 square feet of space which Hendrickson said will be built onto the back of the Centerville Community Center and library facility. It will include a second story to allow for more programing, service and office space.

A connection providing access to the Centerville Senior Center is planned as well.

“With the expansion of this facility, more people will have access to health care, more children will have access to early childhood education, more families will be able to get the mental health care and family services that they need,” Bourdeaux said.

The southern part of Gwinnett has often had to wait and watch other parts of the county — such as Norcross, Lawrenceville and Buford — be closer to the front of the line to get county services.

Centerville only got its own OneStop center about a decade ago, and the expansion will help it catch up with the OneStop centers seen in other parts of the county. Watkins and Hendrickson said residents in southern Gwinnett have been clamoring to have the same types of services that other parts of the county already have.

Watkins said southern Gwinnett is in a different position than other parts of Gwinnett because it still has to address the urban issues the rest of the county faces, but it’s in a more suburban setting.

“Because they’re pockets, it’s difficult for them to address those (issues),” Watkins said. “When you come from a larger suburb and you’re looking for healthcare or access, the first real place you have is Eastside, which is now Piedmont, to come to.

“So, to have access further down, and to get those suburbs to kind of get a collaboration together and then effectively address the urban issues would be beneficial. And, that’s what we’re starting to do now.”

Hendrickson added, “When we talk to communities and constituents down in this part of the county, they’re No. 1 issue is access, resources, ‘We feel like we are a forgotten part of the county’ ... Services are always pushed in the center of the county — Lawrenceville, Duluth — while the needs of the southern part of the county often get overlooked.”


Credit: Gwinnett Daily Post

Credit: Gwinnett Daily Post

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