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DHS news release

Nov. 19, 2007


Contact: Patricia Feeny 503-945-6955
Program contact: Linda Hammond 503-945-2920


Contracts awarded for designing, building new state psychiatric facilities




A nationally recognized architectural and engineering firm with offices in San Francisco has been awarded a contract to design new state-operated psychiatric facilities in Salem and Junction City that will replace aged Oregon State Hospital.


And an award-winning construction company based in Portland has been named construction manager and general contractor on the Salem portion of the six-year project, with a contract expected to be signed in November.


"We reviewed detailed proposals and heard presentations from several excellent companies that wanted to undertake this project," said Linda Hammond, administrator of the project. "These are companies whose people understand Oregon's goals, know how to work with tight budgets and serious deadlines and will be sensitive to the interests of people whom the project affects."


The architecture and engineering contract went to Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, whose past projects have included the Alaska Psychiatric Institute in Anchorage Southeastern Regional Treatment Center in Madison, Indiana. The architecture and engineering firm, also known as HOK, was awarded the contract jointly with Portland-based SRG Partnership to design the two new facilities, for which conceptual ideas are being solicited.


The project's general contractor is expected to be Hoffman Construction Co., with whom the Oregon Department of Human Services is currently in contract negotiations. Among Hoffman's past projects are Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver, Oregon Health and Science University's Biomedical Research Building and Center for Health and Healing, and part of the expansion of Portland International Airport.


Earlier, a contract was awarded to CH2M-Hill, a global company founded in Oregon, to manage the project.


The project will build a 620-bed psychiatric hospital south of Center Street N.E. in Salem and a 360-bed facility at the intersection of Highway 99 and Milliron Road in Junction City.


The two facilities' relatively modest increase in patient capacity over that of current facilities assumes state investment in strengthening community mental health services. Such services help people with mental illness avoid psychiatric hospitalization and provide treatment and care in the community for patients ready to be discharged.


Financing of the first part of the $458 million project with certificates of participation was authorized by the 2007 Oregon Legislature. COPs are sold on capital markets and, because investor income is exempt from state and federal taxes, the state pays a reduced interest rate.


Construction is expected to begin during spring of 2008 on the Salem facility, which is scheduled to open October 2011. The Junction City facility is scheduled to open in October 2013.


Governor Ted Kulongoski began the conversation to improve mental health services shortly after taking office in 2003 when he named a Governor's Task Force on Mental Health, a part of whose recommendations was to replace Oregon State Hospital and strengthen community mental health services. Work began in earnest in early 2005 when the state engaged KMD Architects to review the state's needs and make recommendations, which it did in May 2005 and February 2006 reports.


The Governor subsequently named a committee composed predominantly of legislators to draft siting criteria, from which state officials selected the Salem and Junction City sites as most appropriate for the two recommended facilities.


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