Gov. Shumlin tours new psychiatric residenceBy DAVE GRAM
The Associated Press | June 19,2013MIDDLESEX — Gov. Peter Shumlin, legislators and other officials toured Vermont’s newest state psychiatric facility Tuesday, a day before the Middlesex Therapeutic Community Residence was set to receive its first two patients.
“This is an excellent temporary facility that’s going to help us through this crisis created by (Tropical Storm) Irene,” Shumlin said during the tour.
The Middlesex facility is one of several puzzle pieces the state has been putting together in the nearly two years since the August 2011 storm caused the Winooski River to flood the now-closed Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury.
That 54-bed hospital is to be replaced with several other smaller facilities: a 25-bed hospital to open in Berlin in the spring of next year, 14 beds in a wing now devoted to state patients at the private Brattleboro Retreat psychiatric hospital, six beds at the Rutland Regional Medical Center and greater use of community placements for people deemed suited for them.
The seven beds in Middlesex will be for people whose mental health has improved so that they no longer need the most acute level of care, but who are deemed not ready to move outside a locked facility. Officials said it would be the first facility of its kind in Vermont and rare in the country.
The Middlesex TCR is designed to be temporary — it was built on two 53-foot trailers in a T-shaped configuration by Mobile Medical International Corp., a St. Johnsbury-based firm that specializes in building military and other temporary hospital facilities around the world.
The facility is surrounded by chain-link fences covered in black material that is designed to provide privacy for residents, said Frank Reed, the interim mental health commissioner. It is next to the Vermont State Police barracks that serves central Vermont.
It opened about five months after its originally scheduled opening date, and the $2 million cost was about $500,000 more than original projections, officials said.
Reed said several changes were ordered by the state as the facility was being designed and built that cause the delay and higher cost.
Officials said the state has an agreement with the town of Middlesex under which the facility is to close by 2018, but Reed said the state’s response to Irene is still evolving and there could be a request later to extend that deadline.
One of those on the tour was Julie Tessler, executive director of a statewide group that represents regional mental health service providers. “It’s very nice on the inside,” she said. “We don’t have enough in-patient beds, but this will help that.”MORE IN Vermont News
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day 1739, 'Richard Palmer' identified in prison at York Castle as the notorious outlaw DICK TURPIN; IN 1836, Battle of the Alamo begins near San Antonio de Bexar, Texas; 1896, the Tootsie Roll invented by LEO HIRSCHFELD.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1472, Orkney, Shetland islands put up as collateral by Norway to Scotland in lieu of dowry for MARGARET OF DENMARK on her marriage with JAMES III, king of Scotland; 1962, JOHN GLENN first American to orbit Earth.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City mayoral candidates debate campaign issues; Hartford, Conn., woman still missing; Neal Goswami reports attempts to legislate suicide; local woman loses 100 pounds through TOPS program.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1878, JOHN TUNSTALL murdered near Lincoln, New Mexico, by the outlaw JESSE EVANS; in 1930, ELM FARM OLLIE first cow to fly in aircraft, first to be milked airborne; 1955, nuke test WASP; '79, snow in Sahara.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Rutland Herald News Editor Alan J. Keays and staff writer Gordon Dritschilo discuss stories planned for the February 18, 2015, edition of the newspaper: Winter budgets maxed, legal marijuana, Springfield bank job, USPS slowdown
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1249 AD, ANDRE of LONGJUMEAU is dispatched by LOUIS IX of France to meet the KHAGAN, ruler of the Mongol Empire; in 1804, during 1st Barbary War, STEPHEN DECATUR scuttles the pirate-held USS Philadelphia in Tripoli.