After years of planning, construction is finally underway for the Highland Clarksburg Hospital. This mental health facility will have 150 beds open at the former United Hospital Center.
"We have gone through this process of the CoN (Certificate of Need) and some people challenging it and finally getting through it," said Highland Clarksburg Hospital, Inc. President & CEO Jim Dissen.
Funding for this project was provided through the USDA and Huntington Bank.
On Tuesday, a wall-breaking ceremony symbolized the start of reconstruction.
Officials said this type of hospital is desperately needed in the state.
"Mental health, there's not enough facilities for it. In the past, maybe insurance companies didn't cover all the needs or just stabilize someone and put them back out. You put them back out and they come right back in again," said Dissen.
"We are moving a lot of people out of state to receive mental health care and that solves part of that issue," added Clarksburg City Manager Martin Howe.
This project provides a large economic boost to the area. 200 jobs will be added during the construction phase and 250 permanent jobs will be in place after the hospital opens.
"This will bring $18 million in annual salaries new to the community. These aren't existing salaries located in the state or in the country so it's true economic development, new jobs to the community," said Howe.
At the beginning, officials plan to open one wing of the hospital, which is the area where adolescents will be treated. Construction would still be going on in other parts of the hospital.
"What we're hoping for is to get the children's unit open first and then after that we'll get the other units open as they come on line. But hopefully somewhere within 18 months to get the whole thing completed," Dissen said.
Officials are contacting WVU Hospital to see if this facility could be a place for rotations during medical school. Some nursing schools have already contacted them about the same thing.