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Grant will help pay for mental health project

News-Topic - 10/21/2018

Oct. 19--A state grant will help pay for the mental health treatment facility that Caldwell UNC Health Care plans to build.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce's Rural Division has awarded a $500,000 North Carolina Rural Hope Grant to the City of Lenoir on behalf of Caldwell UNC Health Care.

The proposed $7.2 millionBehavioral Health Pavilion is planned to be a 17,200-square-foot facility with a 27-bed adult in-patient unit, an outpatient clinic and an outdoor "Healing Commons" area. It will be built on property just south of Caldwell Memorial Hospital on Mulberry Street in Lenoir.

The General Assembly previously allocated $4 million for the project, and additional funding will come from the Caldwell Memorial Hospital Foundation and the Cannon Foundation.

Caldwell UNC Health Care President Laura Easton said there is a demonstrated need for the facility.

"Our suicide rate is one of the highest in the state. I have long wanted to intervene but have lacked the resources to do that. One in five people are personally affected by a mental health crisis in their lifetime. We need to be here addressing the issue in a more preventative manner," Easton said. "If we can address mental health issues, we can improve the overall health and quality of life in Caldwell County."

Constructed is expected to start later this year and be completed by September 2019, with the facility opening in November 2019.

The Caldwell County Economic Development Commission helped with the application for the state grant, and Executive Director Deborah Murray said that the project will have economic benefits as well.

Among the 50 new jobs that it is expected to create by 2020, with an average pay of more than $54,000 a year, are a doctor, a psychologist, nurses, medical assistants, security officers and support staff. The total annual wages generated by the 50 new jobs will total more than $2.7 million.

"These are excellent jobs with excellent pay, and it's a significant investment by Caldwell UNC Health Care to provide a much-needed service to the region," Murray said. "Caldwell UNC Health Care's project will have a major impact on the local economy as well as improving the quality of health care for this area."


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