DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Construction of the new Central State Hospital, a project years in the making, has been delayed until Fall 2023.

The development would replace the old Central State Hospital, which has operated in Dinwiddie since 1885. Senator Creigh Deeds recalled his tour of the building and its storied past.

“It was more of a ’One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ type of thing,” Deeds said. “It’s got a rich history. It’s not all pretty, but it’s still a significant part of history of this part of the state. This is a very important project.”

As the country grapples with inflation and other economic factors making development difficult, Central Virginia’s struggles are no different. The new facility’s price tag once sat at about $315 million. However, due to supply chain issues and rising construction costs that number has likely changed. It’s unclear how costly the project will be once it is finally time to break ground.

These issues have thrown a wrench into the project’s entire timeline. Construction is expected to now begin Fall 2023, which means the new Central State Hospital won’t be complete until around 2026. Finalized, detailed renderings of the project will not be available until the end of 2022.

The most recent rendering of the new facility. More detailed, finalized designs should be available at the end of 2022. Photo courtesy of the Virginia Department of General Services.

“This is something we had, I thought, we had figured out multiple years ago,” Deeds said.

The state of Virginia has eight adult behavioral health facilities, but according to the National Association on Mental Illness, more than one million Virginians struggle with some form of mental illness. While Deeds believes, at this point, the state has sufficient numbers of psychiatric beds available, he said the quality is not where it should be. He’s advocating for improved facilities, which is why the delayed construction date for the new Central State Hospital is so disappointing — and frustrating — for the local leader.

“I worry about sanitation,” Deeds said. “I worry about the overcrowded nature, I worry about every structural issue you can imagine with an old building.”

Deeds has witnessed, first-hand, the devastation associated with insufficient, below-standard mental health and psychiatric resources. According to the Washington Post, in 2013, Deeds’ son committed suicide after a public health health agency could not find a bed for him. Deeds hoped the new center would bring accessibility to quality, state-of-the-art care sooner rather than later.

“The good news is we will have a new hospital,” Deeds said. “The bad news is people will continue to struggle between now and then.”

The new facility will hold about 252 patient beds and will stretch across 471,000 square feet. This new facility is conceptualized to provide quality care to patients, and Deeds said it should be a significant improvement from the one currently in place.

“It’s not a place… it’s a place whose time has come and gone,” Deeds said.