Psychiatric institute to expand

By By Rita Totten , Staff Writer

By Rita Totten , Staff Writer

The U Neuropsychiatric Institute is set to expand in order to accommodate up to 80 additional patients, as described by Facilities Planning.

The project description said the institute has been operating at full capacity for several years and has been forced to turn patients away because all 90 of its beds were occupied. The estimated cost of the expansion is $45.9 million, but since the design for it is not complete yet, that is the best estimation Eric Browning, campus planner for Facilities Management, said he could give.

The expansion of the institute will include a total of 71,945 square feet to provide more space for single occupancy rooms. The institute currently only has double-occupancy rooms.

New entrances will be added to the facility to address what the project description refers to as inappropriate mingling of building users8212;to prevent staff, visitors and patients from using the same entrance.

With the new expansion, the department of psychiatry will also move its offices into UNI, located in the eastern section of Research Park.

Ann Asman, development officer for the department of psychiatry, said the primary academic and physician training for the institute’s clinical workers happens in her department. With the training moving closer to the actual institute, it will become a more seamless entity, Asman said.

Being located in the newly expanded UNI will allow teaching to be more hands-on for students as well as enhance clinical and academic research, she said.

“It will finally take the academic side and put it where it belongs,” Asman said of the department’s move into UNI.

Browning said he did not have details on where the funding would be coming from for the expansion.

“All I know is that UNI is paying for it, not the state,” he said.

Brown said he doesn’t think there will be any noticeable impacts to the U or its surrounding community’s commute as a result of the expansion.

[email protected]