Tribune-Courier News Editor
BENTON – While the first hurdle has been overcome for a juvenile psychiatric center coming to Marshall County, there is still a long road ahead before it can move into the former Marshall County Hospital building. Architects last week met with representatives of MRBS Development, which owns the site, and SWIS Purchase, the company looking to open the center.
The proposed site for the Purchase Youth Village will be two sections of the former Marshall County Hospital building on George McClain Drive in Benton. Plans are for the psychiatric center to utilize what were the acute and long-term care wings. The wings are capable of accommodating the state-approved 24 beds, as well as providing access to a fully functioning kitchen, group meeting rooms, office space, educational rooms and showers.
The two wings comprise about 23,000 square feet, about half the size of the building.
Building owner Dennis Smith said there is work that will have to be completed, but many aspects of the former hospital may stay intact.
“You have to design things so they can’t hurt themselves,” Smith said. “There’s a lot that will still have to be decided.”
But a relatively new roof outside and ceiling inside, along with the basic lay-out of the rooms could be beneficial as the process moves forward. Entrances and exits can also be controlled. And even though it’s been vacant since June 2010, Smith said the building has been maintained.
“We’ve kept it secure,” Smith said. “We’ve kept the utilities going, the heat on so pipes didn’t freeze.”
How much the renovations cost and how long it takes depend largely on what the architechts determine in coming weeks, as well as interpretations of legislation that is still new.
An expected opening date for the Purchase Youth Village is still some time off. When it does open, it will be one of six recently approved across the state. In 2010, the state passed House Bill 231 to allow the creation of Level II Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTF) in Kentucky. Prior to the legislation, patients had to go outside the state for care.
“I am pleased to see that the Certificate of Need has been issued for Level II PRTF beds, which should mean we no longer have to send our children out of state to receive psychiatric care,” said Rep. Jimmie Lee, of Elizabethtown, the sponsor of HB 231. “These beds will ensure that the level of care needed for this population will be available in state and closer to their families.”
So far, the state has approved 24-bed facilities in Louisville, Mt. Sterling and Owensboro. Purchase Youth Village will be the only facility of its type this far west.