San Antonio will receive a new $320 million psychiatric hospital to replace the slanted floors and sinking foundations of the city's decades-old facility, according to Texas officials.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission released design plans this week for the new San Antonio State Hospital, to be opened in 2023 at the same site as the old psychiatric center, the San Antonio Express-News reported. The new 296-bed hospital would group patients into smaller units, have open-air courtyards and more areas for occupational therapy and exercise, according to the state's plans.
"It's going to be a much better, healthier environment for our patients," said Vincent Creazzo, the hospital's assistant superintendent.
The current facility has buildings that date back to 1892, and an analysis in 2014 determined 80 percent of the structures were in critical condition.
The new hospital is part of the state's plan to update nearly half of its 10 aging psychiatric hospitals and accommodate growing patient demand.
Lawmakers are beginning to write the next state budget, and an early Senate proposal includes $300 million dedicated to state hospital projects.
Texas officials are planning to replace the Austin State Hospital and renovate the Kerrville State Hospital. The state is looking to take in more patients by building a 100-bed maximum security unit at Rusk State Hospital and a 240-bed psychiatric hospital in Harris County.
About 700 Texas patients had to wait for an open bed this week.
"People are waiting in jail for access to inpatient services. People end up in the emergency room being held there," said Greg Hansch, who works for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Texas. "It's a major drain on local resources."