JOHN DAY - It's official - Community Counseling Solutions will build a secure acute-care facility in John Day.

The CCS board voted unanimously on Oct. 4 to proceed with the project.

The 10-bed facility will provide short-term treatment for people suffering acute mental crises that may make them a danger to themselves or the community.

The project is being developed in cooperation with Blue Mountain Hospital and Eastern Oregon Human Services Consortium.

EOHSC has committed about $500,000 toward the project, which has a projected price tag of $1.4 million. CCS plans to secure private financing for the rest.

CCS plans to contract with the hospital to provide some medical services, and possibly housekeeping and dietary services.

The facility is expected to fill a gap in services that occurred when acute-care services ended at the psychiatric hospital in Pendleton. That left no beds available for such patients in the eastside counties, and placed a burden on local hospitals and authorities who must take such cases.

Kimberly Lindsay, CCS director, said the new facility could be a model for short-term care, and she hopes it will be a good fit for the community, as well.

Lindsay said the next step is to finalize the purchase of the site - three acres of undeveloped land owned by DR Johnson and located adjacent to the hospital.

For the project, CCS has hired the same general contractor who built Lakeview Heights, a secure residential treatment center that opened in February in Heppner. Lindsay said he will subcontract most of the work, and with a good portion of that expected to go to local contractors.

CCS will be working on paperwork for planning, zoning and permits over the winter, but the site work could begin in March if the ground isn't too frozen, she said.

Projections call for about six months to complete the center. Lindsay said the first patients could be admitted in September.

The facility is expected to employ 20-24 people. While some jobs may require specialized training not readily available in the local community, many of the jobs may be filled by local applicants.

Lindsay said CCS will begin the hiring process several months before the facility opens. The agency will advertise the openings next spring, but job-seekers can go now to the CCS website to download an application or visit the CCS offices to obtain a form to submit for the new John Day facility, she said.CCS will keep the applications on file, she said.

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