The Bronx Behavioral Health Campus, a brand new development which will house and treat children and adults struggling with mental illness has officially opened its doors on Waters Place.
The New York State Office of Mental Health, and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York alongside community leaders, politicians and health workers cut the symbolic ribbon onTuesday, January 19.
New York State has poured $350 million into the project, and it shows.
The new development includes a 156-bed Bronx Psychiatric Center which will provide both inpatient and outpatient services for adults, a 86-bed NYC Children’s Center-Bronx Campus for child care, and a 188-bed residential village.
The facility is 436,310 square feet and features modern amenities such as washer-dryer units in each apartment.
The aforementioned residential village is broken up into three separate OMH buildings to meet the specific needs of each patient.
One building is an entirely independent living facility equipped with 48 studio apartments, another 96-bed residence will serve as ‘transitional living’ for those who can live basically alone but still need some assistance, and the third facility called the Horizon House-Haven-House is for residents who require 24/7 crisis care.
“We eventually hope that patients will move into the community, and reach their goals,” said Anne Sullivan, commissioner of the Office of Mental Health, “This new campus offers a safe and secure facility for individuals with mental illness to find hope… and realize recovery.”
The development was managed by DASNY, and broke ground in 2008. The new location will replace the Bronx Psychiatric Center which originally opened in 1963 and the Bronx Campus of the NYC Children’s Center which opened in 1960 as Bronx Children’s Hospital.
Since the location is now less secluded from the community, management hopes that integration into the neighborhood will flow more naturally when families come to visit.
With a pending goal of being LEED-Silver certified by the United States Green Building Conference, the new center aims to be energy efficient.
The energy consumption rate has been reduced 21% as compared to the old psychiatric center, an achievement which will save the facility $300,000 per year.
Dr. Joseph Battaglia of OMH and the clinical director at Bronx Psychiatric Center, conjured an image of Harold and The Purple Crayon for the crowd at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “We could draw a house, but when does that house become a home,” said Battaglia, “It’s not just a building it’s a symbol of recovery.”
Director of the Administrative Support Services Group at OMH Edward Killeen paid homage to the workers who really impact patients everyday- the direct care workers. “We don’t thank you enough, and we certainly don’t pay you enough...but you really are special people,” he said.
Five thousand workers were given jobs during the site’s construction. About 18 percent of those jobs went to Bronx residents, and over 30 percent of the contracts went to minority and women owned businesses. The center aims to bring more jobs into the community.