Ground broken at new Caro Psychiatric Hospital

Published: Oct. 19, 2018 at 4:07 PM EDT
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(10/19/18) - Ground has been broken on a $115 million psychiatric center.

The new 225,000 square foot Caro Psychiatric Hospital will replace a facility that has been in operation since 1914.

"This is a once in a lifetime experience for many of us," said Rose Laskowski, director of the facility.

The new facility will go up along the Cass River just across the street from the current hospital. Demolition of some of the old buildings on the property should begin this fall with construction to begin in the spring.

"The reality of a newly constructed hospital is a dream come true for our patients and for our staff," Laskowski said. "We believe the benefits of a new hospital will affect our patient outcomes, our patient and family satisfaction, patient safety, staff efficiency and satisfaction, as well as organizational outcomes."

Laskowski has served at the facility for 54 years. She's ready to replace the facility that opened in 1914.

"If you look at it, we've underinvested for decades now. This is a facility that should have been released long ago. It's about time," said Governor Rick Snyder.

Initially the facility served people with epilepsy before transitioning to a psychiatric center.

Snyder said the facility plays an important role in the overall wellbeing of many Michiganders. "Mental health issues affect every family in our state in some fashion," he said.

Deciding to build a new 200 bed center in Caro to replace the 150 bed facility in existence now almost didn't happen. The state considered other communities.

Caro mayor Joe Greene said it would have been a nightmare if it had gone elsewhere. "Closing the Caro Center would have caused economic disaster in every region of the Thumb," Mayor Greene said.

To save the facility people wrote letters, reached out to their lawmakers and more.

Not only would jobs have been lost, but families likely would have moved away impacting local schools and businesses.

Senator Mike Green worked to make it a reality. "It took some arm twisting, trust me. But you came through man," Sen. Green said as he looked at the governor.

Representative Edward Canfield says it's the crowning achievement of his legislative career. "Here's to the next 100 years," Rep. Canfield said.

Construction is expected to be complete in 2021.