Construction on schedule at new $3M psychiatric hospital
WILLMAR -- A 16-bed psychiatric hospital is on budget and on target to be completed in July. Clients are expected to begin arriving in August at the new Community Behavioral Health Hospital in Willmar. The facility will provide short-term, inpati...
WILLMAR -- A 16-bed psychiatric hospital is on budget and on target to be completed in July.
Clients are expected to begin arriving in August at the new Community Behavioral Health Hospital in Willmar.
The facility will provide short-term, inpatient care for adults with acute mental illness. It will not treat patients deemed violent or dangerous.
This is the last of 10 similar facilities to be built in the state as part of the plan to provide regional mental health care after the closure of regional treatment centers in Greater Minnesota, including the Willmar Regional Treatment Center.
"I'm really excited about it," said Kandiyohi County Administrator Larry Kleindl, during a tour this week of the facility, located off Olena Avenue Southeast near the YMCA. "It's been amazing watching the guys put it together."
The hospital was supposed to have been up and running by now, but problems in finding an acceptable site in Willmar slowed down the process by one year.
After crews broke ground in October for the $3 million project, a long wet spell last fall delayed work about a month, said Dean Lutgen, project manager with Kue Contractors of Watkins. A harsh, cold winter also slowed down work, he said.
But crews were in full motion this week.
Flooring and doors were being installed in patient rooms, newly finished drywall was being painted, the heating and cooling systems were being connected and long bundles of communication cables were being strung throughout the 17,593-square-foot, single-story building.
Because of lessons the state learned when constructing the other hospitals during the last couple years, modifications have been made to the Willmar facility, said Kleindl. For example, acoustic fabric will be installed on the high ceiling of the community room to cut down on noise. "It will be quiet in here," Kleindl said.
On the outside, masonry crews were putting up attractive cut stone on part of the exterior, which will also feature siding painted burgundy with white accent strips. The colors were chosen to create a "soft and neutral" appearance, Kleindl said.
Graders were moving dirt to prepare for landscaping, which will include a three-foot-high earthen berm that will separate the hospital from its closest residential neighbor.
Trees and green space will be on nearly all sides of the hospital. A water retention pond in the front courtyard will provide form and function by filtering storm water before it goes to a nearby wetland and adding an attractive focal point.
From a distance, and up close, the structure does not look like a hospital. With numerous angles and jogs in the exterior walls, multiple roof lines and big windows, there is nothing institutional about the appearance of the hospital.
"This looks real natural," Kleindl said.
The interior of the building includes extra wide hallways, a large sunlit community room, spacious bedrooms and office and counseling space. All the hallways, rooms, doors and windows have security features.
A high mesh fence will be installed on the back side of the hospital to provide an outdoor area for patients, which may be the only part of the building that will hint that it's a hospital.
Kleindl said the contractors have done a "good job of organizing and staying on task. It's been a good partnership."
Lutgen said there have been about a dozen subcontractors on the job, with most from Willmar, New London and Spicer. He estimates the project involved 160 to 180 construction workers.
Lutgen said the county and subcontractors worked well together to "get the project done and done on time."
Kleindl said an open house will be held in July.
The hospital will be owned by Kandiyohi County and leased by the state.
The county obtained a $3.7 million loan to pay for the $2,898,873 construction costs, $200,000 in design fees and $279,900 to purchase the 4.59 acres site.
State lease payments over the next 10 years will cover the county's cost.