New mental health facility in the works at Peace Health

EUGENE, Ore. -- A new mental health facility is in the works for Peace Health Hospital's location near the University of Oregon.

Dale Smith, director of Behavioral Health Services at the hospital, said the new $13 million psychiatric unit is needed for their Eugene campus.

"This allows for patients to be treated in their own community with their own support systems and their follow up system in place," said Smith.

Patients have been treated at the current location named the Johnson Unit for decades.

"Today, when our 8 beds are full, patients either wait in the emergency department, sometimes days for acute treatment or they're transported as far as Bend, Oregon for inpatient care," Smith said.

The new facility would be located in a neighboring building and would have room for 20 patients in need of special care.

"This is a very important service to the community," said Philip Farrington, a member of the project from Land-use, Planning and Development. "Very critical patients that need this acute psychiatric treatment and they'll be able to receive that in a far better environment."

The facility is planned to go in the ground floor of the Support Services Building - currently a parking structure - after a series of renovations.

Peace Health hopes to start construction within the next few months, and said the project should take one year to complete.