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New facilities for Grand Mental Health under construction

Stillwater NewsPress - 6/8/2024

Jun. 6—A new Grand Mental Health facility is coming to Stillwater, planned for completion in spring 2025.

The 35,000-square-feet Payne County facility is under construction on 13.5 acres of land south of Lakeview Road at the end of Knotts Avenue. It will be south and east of Goodwill and east of Atwoods.

Construction is going according to plan, said GMH Director of Marketing and Public Relations Ron Brady.

The new facility is a flagship model for future growth and expansion of their services, and he called it a "dream come to fruition."

"Payne County is important to us and the services that we provide there," Brady said. "...We said, 'Let's get this one done and do it right.' ... It really is the pilot of our new, state-of-the-art, ground up treatment facilities."

The new facility is based on "what we have heard and how we have engaged with the community," Brady said.

GMH had originally chosen the location because it would allow for different types of services, is centrally located and is close to public transportation, according to previous reporting by the News Press.

GMH is a certified community behavioral health clinic that operates 22 facilities in 12 northeastern and north-central Oklahoma counties. GMH administrative headquarters are located in Nowata, and it began providing services in Stillwater in 2017.

Services are offered during regular business hours or 24/7 depending on type of care, and Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program is accepted.

GMH staff had already been planning a move for its offices from the Cimarron Plaza due to the new Stillwater High School construction.

A number of offices are now at 604 South Walnut St., where they house their children's services.

Another temporary site is a short-term lease location at The Bank at 806 W. Sixth Ave., where patients are seen by appointment only.

People can still visit the Walnut Street facility 24/7 for help with crisis needs. If further services are needed, GMH will transport clients to other full-service urgent recovery centers in northeastern or north-central Oklahoma.

The new facility is designed to meet the current program needs now, but also designed for flexibility and growth.

"The idea has always been to create one consolidated space that we own that allows for future expansion," Brady said.

The layout includes three separate wings, with glass partitions separating the wings in a "stair-step" pattern. Each glass partition is designed to provide open spaces and courtyards.

The east wing will be dedicated to meeting children's outpatient services and infant mental health needs. This wing would be completely separate from the crisis center and urgent recovery areas, and include a playground.

The center wing will focus on teen and adult outpatient services.

The west wing is the Urgent Recovery Center, an expanded 24/7 crisis center for anyone experiencing any kind of a behavioral health crisis.

The architecture and design of the facility focuses on "open, airy spaces" with a lot of light features and indoor and outdoor spaces.

"It's meant to be a calming, almost organic-type feeling," Brady said.

The URC wing is expected to open first, with a completion date in September.

"That's definitely the focus, because we want to make sure that we are able to meet people in crisis needs," Brady said.

One side of the URC is for walk-ins, and there will be a large open area where clients will be under observation and can obtain the help they need from staff. It's for those who meet certain criteria — such as not being a threat to others or having criminal activity but still needing help, Brady said.

The amenities include calming spaces and rockers for clients to sit in. The typical length of stay would be two to three hours, up to two or three days.

The other side of the URC would house a "structured" crisis center where clients will not be able to leave voluntarily.

"It is an opportunity for authorities to bring people there, for them to be seen by us," Brady said.

He said GMH will be able help these clients with an urgent crisis to get on a treatment plan and help stabilize them, and there will be more housing availability on that side.

"It's certainly an alternative and a better solution ... than putting them in jail where they're not getting the treatment they need," Brady said.

Once everything is up and running, the temporary bank location and the Walnut Street clinic would be closed and everything would be consolidated to the new space.

"This time next year, the plan is to be fully operating with all services functioning out of the new facility," Brady said, citing a possible May opening, depending on weather conditions.

Brady said GMH has partnered with Stillwater's crisis response team, including the Stillwater Police Department, Stillwater Fire Department and the Payne County Animal Response Team to make sure the facility is everything Stillwater needs.

"We are a community service agency," Brady said. "We take it very seriously to make sure that we're thoughtful to the community we serve."

That includes not coming in and "dropping a building down" without researching what impact that might have on the community and the surrounding neighborhoods.

"We came in, we leased space in the community, we learned about the community, we understood what the needs were," he said. "It's really an 'applaud' to the community."

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