Morganton, NC --
Broughton Hospital will soon be home to work crews.
Construction on the new state mental hospital is nearly ready to begin.
Coal Chute Road will be closed starting on Monday as contractor Rodgers Builders starts assembling its home base for the project, according to Jon Berry, Broughton Hospital’s special project manager.
Rodgers Builders will begin accepting bids for demolition next week. Berry said a number of old residences on the Broughton campus must be cleareed to make way for the new building on a 60-acre tract within Broughton's 386-acre campus.
How many jobs the project will create isn’t yet known, according to Berry, because subcontracting has not yet begun. Rodgers Builders gives preference to local contractors, he noted.
Berry said the construction is a “wonderful opportunity” for the local economy.
Scott Darnell, president of Burke Development Inc., said in December that he believes the project could create between 300 and 350 jobs.
Work should start by early June. It will take until the end of 2013 to complete, said Mark Van Sciver, a spokesman for the state Department of Health and Human Services.
The current staff will move to the new facility when it’s finished. Sciver said it’s too early to say whether there will be additional jobs in the new, larger hospital.
The state is building the 382-bed, 430,000-square-foot hospital to replace the existing facility.
The price tag is $154.8 million including new equipment, Sciver said. The funds come from state bond issues, so the current budget debate will not impact the new hospital’s construction.
The state needs the new facility, Sciver stressed, because the current buildings are aging and inefficient. He said construction of the new Broughton Hospital is part of an ongoing state initiative to upgrade mental-health facilities. Three new state-run mental health facilities will replace four dated ones.
Broughton is the second-oldest state-run psychiatric hospital in North Carolina. Now a 278-bed facility, its history dates to 1883. Broughton Hospital serves the state’s 37 westernmost counties.