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Mental health facility plans progress

Work on a new mental health services facility for Lincoln Countycould begin soon after Region 8’s governing board received bids onthe project recently.

“We’re going to move on this pretty fast,” said Dave Van, theregion’s executive director.

The Region 8 Commission recently received 16 bids forconstruction of the new, estimated $5 million facility. The newservice will be located on Highway 51 near to where the agencycurrently leases space from King’s Daughters Medical Center.

Van said a standard review to determine the lowest and best bid,which was $4.8 million from D.C. & M General Contractors fromBay St. Louis, is currently under way. Paul Jackson and Son ofBrookhaven submitted the next lowest bid at $4.9 million.

A final decision on the bid may be made in about a week, Vansaid. The contractors could begin work soon thereafter.

“We’re on a pretty tight timetable to move out of the buildingwe’re leasing from King’s Daughters there,” said Van, adding thatthe lease is up in March 2012. “We’re talking about a 360-dayproject.”

Van said the estimated 30,000-square feet, two-building facilitywill offer many mental health services ranging from alcohol anddrug treatment to assistance for developmental disabilities. Thenew project will also mean additional employees, although Van didnot know the exact number.

“Staff will be added as patients are accepted,” he said.

Van said the Lincoln County facility should be identical tothose serving the region’s other four counties: Rankin, Madison,Copiah and Simpson. He indicated future expansion of the LincolnCounty facility could also be possible.

“Within five years of initial construction, we outgrew thefacilities and had to expand,” Van said of the other four counties’operations.

Currently, the Lincoln County service center is seeing about 150new patients a month, Van said.

“A lot of the growth is due to our being new to the area andquality services being available,” Van said.

Van expected the patient totals to stabilize in the future.There are about 2,000 active cases in Lincoln County now, he said,compared to the region’s largest member Rankin County which has12,000.

At Monday’s Lincoln County supervisors meeting, Chancery ClerkTillmon Bishop updated the board on the status of the project.County officials were pleased with the information and eager to seethe facility constructed.

“That’s going to be something when they get it done,” saidDistrict Three Supervisor Nolan Earl Williamson.

Van said no state taxpayer dollars will be used in thefacility’s construction. He said project funds have been generatedfrom fees for patient services.

Van touted the boost to economic development the project willprovide. He also said Region 8’s locating here and the currentproject would not have been possible without the assistance ofLincoln County’s legislative delegation, supervisors and otherlocal officials.

“We’re going to have a nice mental health facility that everyonein Lincoln County can be proud of,” Van said.