Topping Off Ceremony Marks Milestone for Virginia Mental Health Hospital

A significant step toward bolstering children’s mental healthcare in Virginia was achieved as Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters celebrated the placement of the highest beam on a 60-bed, 14-story mental health hospital and outpatient center.

The topping off ceremony marks the symbolic completion of the structural phase of the $224-million building located on the same campus as CHKD’s main

Final beam raised during the topping off ceremony of the new CHKD mental health hospital and outpatient center.

hospital. When the building opens in 2022, it will be the centerpiece of a bold new initiative that will provide a full spectrum of mental healthcare for children, filling a critical gap in a statewide shortage of pediatric mental health services.

The building is rising at a time when 20% of the nation’s children have a mental health condition, and in the middle of a pandemic that is already having an impact on the minds of the community’s children. Already, reports are showing heightened anxiety in children experiencing fear about COVID-19, insecurity created by job losses within families and loneliness from social distancing. Fallout from these issues will unfold in the months and years to come.

Even before the pandemic, this community simply did not have the capacity to meet the crushing need. Community pediatricians are overwhelmed with mental health needs of their patients, and children are spending too much time waiting in the emergency department for proper inpatient placement at other facilities.

CHKD officials celebrate topping off of the new mental health hospital at CHKD. From left to right Jim Dahling, president and CEO of CHKD Health System; Akhil Jain, chair of the CHKD Health System board of directors; Dr. Carl Peterson, chief of psychiatry at CHKD and John Lawson II, chair of the Lighting the Way Campaign Cabinet.

The facility will have features that put it on the forefront of pediatric mental healthcare, including 60 private inpatient rooms with sleeping accommodations for a parent. Children will also receive outpatient therapy in an environment that supports their families and community. A “partial hospitalization” program will enable children to spend most of the day at the hospital, but still reside at home. Other facility highlights include an outdoor recreation area, an indoor gym, a music room and recording studio, a rooftop garden, a soothing multi-sensory room and family lounge areas.

The CHKD mental health hospital will employ 415 doctors, nurses, therapists and other mental health professionals who will treat children across the state and beyond.

W.M. Jordan is the general contractor; Array is the architect.

For a video of the topping off ceremony, click here.

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Posted October 13, 2020

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