Construction crews continue work on a nearly $200 million project to build a modern 227,000 square-foot patient complex and replace the administration building at Rusk State Hospital, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced Thursday, Nov. 12.

Workers recently placed the final beam atop the administration building and are on track to complete 50 percent of the building by Feb. 2021. The construction team has also completed demolition work at the site of the new patient complex and have begun laying plumbing and installing electrical infrastructure.

“The new hospital isn’t just about having a state-of-the-art building. It’s about creating a therapeutic setting that will foster healing and recovery for the patients entrusted in our care,” said Tim Bray, HHSC associate commissioner for state hospitals. “Rebuilding these units is part of our continued mission to be a leader in modern day mental health care for Texans.”

The patient complex will include a 100-bed maximum-security unit and a 100-bed non-maximum-security unit. This project will also include the construction of a new administration building.

The construction is not occurring in patient care areas, so there is minimal disruption to patients, according to information provided by Ty Bishop, HHS office of communications. The biggest impact on staff is traffic and parking. Once staff are inside their work area, the impact is minimal.

"I’m proud to support Rusk State Hospital and thank them for all the important work that they do,” State Sen. Robert Nichols said. “Their enduring commitment to caring for those in need is vital to the health and well-being of East Texas residents. The state’s investment in state hospitals shows our dedication to ensuring Texas is a leader in mental health care."

The Texas Legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott have invested $745 million in the project to construct and renovate state psychiatric hospitals in Austin, Kerrville, Rusk and San Antonio as well as a new hospital in Houston. A combined total of at least 350 new inpatient psychiatric beds will be added in Texas within the next four years through these projects.

"The construction project reaffirms our state's commitment to provide quality care for those who need it most,” said State Rep. Travis Clardy. “While the Rusk State Hospital has served our community for over a century, this much-needed investment will not only serve to enhance the facilities with state-of-the-art-innovation, but more importantly provides the Rusk State Hospital with the resources necessary to increase access to high-quality health care for generations to come."

The three-story, 227,368 square-foot patient complex features single-person rooms, the use of natural light throughout patient rooms and common areas and outdoor spaces to promote recovery and healing. The first floor will consist of social interaction spaces such as a movie theater, salon, café, library, gym and a music therapy room. The second and third floors will hold the patient units, an exercise room, group therapy rooms and classrooms. There will be secure courtyards and walking trails outside, as well as basketball and volleyball courts.

The new two-story administration building is 18,900 square feet and will accommodate the administration department and IT staff.

The last building project at Rusk State Hospital occurred in 1977 with the construction of building 643. This building is being used as a 40-bed maximum security unit. The second newest patient building was constructed in 1953, with all other patient buildings dating back to the 1920s or 1930s. The administration building was constructed in the 1880s.

“For Rusk State Hospital to continue to meet modern healthcare standards and operate, these building projects are absolutely necessary,” said Michelle Foster, Rusk State Hospital Superintendent. “Our knowledge of mental health has evolved greatly since then and our patients deserve state of the art spaces to match the state of the art care they receive inside.”

The patient new building is expected to open in February 2023, and the administration building is scheduled to open in November 2021.

For more information about state hospital construction projects throughout the state, visit the Changes to the State Hospital System page on the HHS website.

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