RUSK, Texas (KETK) – A historic psychiatric hospital in Rusk has a new $200 million state-of-the-art patient complex and administration building, and officials say they hope it will be a model for future builds in the state.
The new three-story, 227,368 square-foot patient complex includes a 100-bed non-maximum security unit and expanded their maximum security unit from 40 beds to 100.
The new hospital features single-person rooms, natural light in rooms and common areas, outdoor spaces and a variety of therapeutic, recreational and social experiences to prepare patients for life outside the hospital.
The 200-bed complex also includes a theater, music room, beauty salon, canteen, library, gym, greenhouse and teaching kitchen. Still, the overall capacity of the hospital will remain the same, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
According to HHSC Chief Program and Service Officer Michelle Alletto, the hospital has been serving patients for over 100 years.
“Couldn’t have a better time to open this modern therapeutic facility that really is a model for our state,” Alletto said.
State Sen. Robert Nichols, State Rep. Travis Clardy and State Rep. Cody Harris took on the job to get it done. Construction began in 2017 and $200 million was raised.
“Not only is this newest, state-of-the-art, it is one of a series that follows, so it kind of lays the formula for the rest of the state on how to do it,” Nichols said.
Gov. Greg Abbott sent a message to local officials saying the new Rusk State Hospital is just the start of making mental health a priority in our hospitals.
“This newly-renovated facility will let patients feel more connected to nature and encourage the healing process,” Abbott said.
The grand opening ceremony on Wednesday featured Superintendent of Rusk State Hospital Michelle Foster as Master of Ceremonies, and several speakers including:
- Scott Schalchlin – Deputy Executive Commissioner, Health and Specialty Care System
- Michelle Alletto – HHSC Chief Program and Services Officer
- Cecile Erwin Young – HHSC Executive Commissioner
- James I. Perkins – Citizens 1st Bank President and Board Chairman
- State Sen. Robert Nichols – District 3
- State Rep. Cody Harris – District 8
- State Rep. Travis Clardy – District 11
The new facility aims to promote a safer environment for patients and employees.