Major Renovations Abound for 50-Year Old Facility: Ohio Psychiatric Hospital Begins $68.5 Million Renovation, but Some Question the Location

Article excerpt

For one of Ohio's six regional psychiatric hospitals, Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare, major changes are on the horizon. A $68.5 million construction project in Sagamore Hills, which began with a groundbreaking ceremony in July, will expand the hospital by more than 100,000 square feet and improve existing facilities.

The psychiatric facility was founded in 1941 and was originally called Hawthorn-den State Hospital. It became Northcoast Behavioral Center in the 1990s. David Colletti, CEO of North-coast Behavioral Services, says the features of the new improvements will benefit patients, family members, staff, and the surrounding communities. The main features include:

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* An addition of 10 residential wings, with eight new and two renovated from existing space. The eight new wings will house.208 patient beds, while the renovated spaces will hold 50 beds, accounting for a total of 258 patient beds.

* A majority of private patient rooms and bathrooms which will "allow for more privacy for patients and will be more conducive to overall treatment," according to Colletti.

* Three new outdoor courtyards which will allow individuals to spend time outside and get fresh air.

* Improved program space, which Colletti says will be "conducive to our art therapy, occupational therapy, our fitness programs, our music therapy, etc."

* Safety features that prohibit barricading of doors. He explains that many of the features in the previous facility were eliminated in the plans for this renovation. Much investigation was done through various literature and visits to other hospitals.

* A clinic area that will integrate primary health and mental health. Colletti explains that specialists often come to the facility to provide medical services such as dental work and podiatry and that they will now have a space to be able to more efficiently provide assessment and treatment to patients.

* Connected buildings, which will allow much more efficiency in terms of staff and patient movement.

* An exercise/gym area where patients will be able to regularly participate in programs and exercise. It is anticipated that this area will be shared occasionally with the community.

William M. Denihan, CEO of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County, says, "I want to commend the state for designing rooms that are more effective than rooms have been in the past. Not only did they architecturally achieve efficiency but they achieved consumer safety and the safety of the workers that are there. It's also very environmentally sensitive in its construction using recycled materials. It achieves safety and security for the consumer which is the number one goal besides having a place for them to stay and be treated. …