Timeline announced for new Fulton State Hospital

Callaway County and city of Fulton leaders met with Fulton State Hospital officials Thursday to hear how planning of the new hospital is progressing. Although the meeting was preliminary and generic, they were able to learn the phases of construction.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed the new state budget in June, authorizing the $200 million project of a new state hospital. The current facility is the oldest of its kind — opened in 1851 — west of the Mississippi River.

Parsons Brinckerhoff was selected as the design firm for the new Fulton State Hospital, and a representative gave officials a construction timeline Thursday.

Chief Operating Officer Marty Martin-Forman said she felt it was important to update local officials because they were “instrumental in getting the word out about how badly a new hospital is needed.”

The timeline, according to Ryan Burns in the state’s Office of Administration, is as follows:

•Fall 2014 — bid process begins for stand-alone boiler plants for the Missouri School for the Deaf and Department of Corrections Cremer Center.

•February 2015 — temporarily relocate the communications hub from the Administration Building to the current Dietary Building. Current power plant, dietary services, materials management and maintenance services will sustain until permanent replacements are found.

•Spring 2015 — Construction starts on the new Dietary Building, Materials Management Building, ECC Building and Maintenance Building. These buildings are expected to be completed by Summer 2016.

•Spring 2016 — Construction of the new hospital begins with an expected completion by the end of 2017.

•Early 2018 — Patients will start the move from the old hospital into the new facility.

•Spring 2018 — The current Biggs Forensic Center, FSH’s maximum-security facility, will be demolished.

Martin-Forman told the Fulton Sun she is pleased with the “aggressive” timeline.

“We’re not going to have to wait forever for this to be built and that’s very exciting,” Martin-Forman said.

Martin-Forman has traveled to other mental health facilities in the nation to grasp what has and hasn’t worked. She visited St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. earlier this summer. The facility was built four years ago and has a similar size to that of FSH’s 300 beds. She’s also been to the Oregon State Hospital as well as hospitals in Kansas, Oklahoma and Michigan.

When assessing these facilities, some key aspects she looks for are:

•floor surfaces and how the surface holds;

•the number of building levels to get a feel of how 300 beds will fit on one level;

•materials used for building;

•location of heating and air conditioning units;

•energy efficiency of heating and air conditioning;

•treatment spaces;

•placement of bathrooms;

•length of hallways;

•security systems.

With a timeline in place, Martin-Forman and hospital employees are continuing to work together to provide Parsons Brinckerhoff with a wish list. Martin-Forman said employees have been able to provide feedback at past town hall meetings, and as staff meetings take place, project updates are given with the hopes for more input.

An intranet site has been created and also allows for email communication.

Martin-Forman said next step is to go into focus groups with individual departments when the first schematics are available.

She added that FSH’s treatment is “state of the art” and now what’s left is to create a building that with proper space for those treatments and more that aren’t possible with the current hospital. That’s going to be possible, she said, with communication between the FSH employees, administration and designers.

“What’s exciting is we’re being listened to,” Martin-Forman said.

She added that employees in the administration building hope to be moved to a building in front of the Hearnes Center by the end of October.

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