With Dickinson Mental Health Center just days away from unveiling its new 28,200-square-foot facility located at 43 Servidea Drive along Route 219 in Ridgway Township, Dickinson CEO Jack Goga explained the motives and incentives behind the new $4.1 million facility.
Groundbreaking at the site took place in October 2011 and according to the DMHC website, the construction is ahead of schedule. As a result, DMHC programs to be housed within the new facility are scheduled to begin their relocations as soon as Aug. 1, with the process continuing through Aug. 9.
According to Goga, the decision to relocate came following extensive discussion among board members and administrators, during which the consensus was reached that a more spacious and modernized facility was integral to the longevity of Dickinson as an organization.
"Over the course of the past several years, there have been extensive discussions and review by management and DCI's board of governors. This was a very thoughtfully and carefully evaluated determination and one which everyone associated with Dickinson believed was necessary and critical to its long-term success and future as a leading behavioral health system in northwestern Pennsylvania," Goga said.
In weighing the need for a new facility, Goga said that a number of the locations or program sites, leased rather than owned by Dickinson, were in a state of disrepair and did not justify the expenditure for extensive renovations.
In addition, Goga said an examination of the current state of the organization's operations in the area revealed a number of critical issues, the foremost being a shortage of space, with the organization having outgrown its offices and network of program sites over the past 50 years.
Dickinson's continued expansion resulted in what Goga described as a "significant shortage of operational space to run its programs and fully meet our consumers' needs."
Dickinson Center, Inc. (DCI) was founded in 1958 as the Ridgway Area Psychiatric Center. In 1981, the name was changed to Dickinson Mental Health Center, Inc. to honor its founder, Dr. Robert J. Dickinson.
While Dickinson's origins are those of an outpatient psychiatric care center serving rural northwestern Pa., it has evolved into a leading behavioral health provider in the region, with over 220 employees and a nearly $10 million annual operating budget.
According to Goga, the new facility will consolidate a number of programs currently under the Dickinson umbrella.
The departments and community-based programs to be consolidated within the new facility are as follows: the administration, including Billing, Fiscal, MIS/IT, & Payroll; Intellectual Disability Administration; Adult Habilitation Center; Autism Diagnostic and Treatment Center-- program name "Possibilities;" Blended Case Management; Elkwood Arts; Family-Based Mental Health Services; Home & Community Habilitation Services; Outpatient Psychiatric and Counseling Services; Peer Support Services; Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program; and Recovery and Employment Support Services.
Goga said the consolidation of these programs into one central venue will increase efficiency among all branches of the organization.
"It will keep Dickinson at the forefront of providing high-quality services in an environment conducive to supporting consumers' recovery and overall health and well-being," Goga said.
Goga also said that as a result of added amenities, the new facility will provide services in a "much more therapeutic and consumer-friendly environment of care."