Construction of Douglas County behavioral health crisis center expected to cost $8 million

photo by: Meeting screenshot/Douglas County Commission

A rendering of the planned Douglas County Crisis and Recovery Center is shown to the Douglas County Commission during a virtual meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. Construction of the behavioral health crisis center is expected to cost $8 million.

The construction of a planned behavioral health crisis center for Douglas County is expected to cost $8 million.

The estimated cost was presented to the Douglas County Commission on Wednesday during a presentation about the construction progress of the Treatment and Recovery Campus of Douglas County, where the crisis center will be located.


Douglas County Commission to hear update on opening of new behavioral health treatment housing

The campus — which is located at 1000 W. Second St., near the corner of Maine and West Second streets — will provide three housing and treatment facilities for Douglas County residents dealing with behavioral health issues.

The crisis center, which will be known as the Douglas County Crisis and Recovery Center, is a planned 20,000-square-foot facility that would provide behavioral health crisis services. The facility includes 16 spaces for people to receive 23 hours of observation from behavioral health professionals and another 16 bedrooms for others to receive 72 hours of observation.

To construct the facility, Chris Nichols of Mar Lan Construction said it would cost $7.1 million for the facility itself plus another $900,000 to establish utilities and other infrastructure in the area, bringing the project cost to a total of $8 million. Construction of the facility is expected to begin next month and completed before the end of 2021.

Jay Zimmerschied, the county’s director of capital projects, said that estimated cost is lower than the county originally expected. However, he did not elaborate on how much lower.

“It’s looking good in terms of dollars, which is refreshing and nice,” Zimmerschied said.

He added that the commissioners will be provided with an overall budget breakdown of the project during next week’s County Commission meeting. County Administrator Sarah Plinsky said that’s when the commissioners will be asked to consider giving final approval to the construction project.

The presentation also told the commissioners the other two behavioral health facilities of the campus are almost ready to open. Transitions, a group-home living space that will be operated by Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, and the Cottages, a collection of one-bedroom apartments that will be managed by the Lawrence Douglas County Housing Authority, are expected to receive occupancy permits in November.

But it may be longer before anyone moves into those facilities. Shannon Oury, executive director for the housing authority, told the Journal-World in an email that the organization expects to begin moving people into the apartments in January. As of Wednesday evening, officials for Bert Nash did not respond to the Journal-World’s question about when it plans to begin admitting residents into the group home.

In other business, the commissioners approved a “findings of fact” document related to Mary Wakeman’s request to rezone her 70-acre property, located at the northwest corner of East 800 Road and North 1500 Road, for the purposes of subdividing her land for residential development.

By approving the document, which outlines the many reasons the County Commission believed the rezoning request could not be approved, the commissioners formally denied Wakeman’s request.

Related coverage:

• Nov. 10, 2019 — Construction of behavioral health campus set to begin, but price tag for Douglas County may grow

• Feb. 16, 2020 — Health leaders provide updated facility design for planned Douglas County behavioral health crisis center

• March 27, 2020 — Douglas County crisis center receives $750K in state budget

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