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Missoula County’s COVID-19 test site leaving fairgrounds for Flynn Lane; lease pending

Posted at 9:13 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 23:13:27-04

MISSOULA — Citing the shortcomings of their current location, the City-County Health Department plans to move its testing facility from the county fairgrounds to a new location off Flynn Lane and have it operational by early August.

Missoula County commissioners are expected this week to approve the lease agreement for the property, located at 4025 Flynn Lane, in the amount of $9,275 a month.

The health department opened the drive-thru test center at the county fairgrounds in early April and has been renting the location ever since for around $13,950 a month, according to county documents.

But Adriane Beck, director of disaster and emergency services for Missoula County, said the site is less than ideal.

“That facility is ill-equipped to continue that operation for the long haul,” she said Tuesday. “They’re already experiencing some heat issues with lack of air conditioning, as well as going into the winter with lack of heating.”

With testing expected to continue into the foreseeable future, the health department began looking at properties that could accommodate its testing operation. It found the property off Flynn Lane, which once served as the old Garden City shop.

Beck said the location includes a number of private offices and plenty of storage.

“The biggest selling point for the health department was the fact that it has a drive-thru warehouse,” she said. “It minimizes the exposure to those conducting the testing activity while also providing that climate controlled environment they need.”

Commissioners were expected to sign the lease on Tuesday, though the lease agreement with Sterling Commercial Management required a few changes. Beck said her office will handle the lease, making the cost available for reimbursement by FEMA.

“This facility is going to help them be set up for success,” Beck said. “Eventually, it could be used somewhat as a vaccination place if we get to that point.”