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State, city, community and hospital representatives participate in the Oct. 19 ceremonial groundbreaking of the new Massachusetts Mental Health Center.
Collaboration, innovation and community were the themes at the ceremonial groundbreaking of the new Massachusetts Mental Health Center site on Fenwood Road Oct. 19.
“I’m delighted that the Massachusetts Mental Health Center will return to our community, promoting recovery and resiliency to those with mental illness,” said BWH President Betsy Nabel, MD. “This is a community that we at BWH are proud to serve.”
The Massachusetts Mental Health Center has a long history in Mission Hill. The original building opened its doors in 1912. When it closed in 2003, the majority of staff and client services relocated to the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Jamaica Plain, and the majority of the research programs moved to Boston’s Landmark Center. When construction is complete, all services will once again be housed at the health center.
All 10 speakers at the event, including Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Gary L. Gottlieb, MD, MBA, president and chief executive officer of Partners HealthCare, acknowledged the many years of collaboration and hard work that led to this day.
Since 2000, BWH, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Division of Capital Asset Management and Executive Office of Health & Human Services, as well as Partners HealthCare, the City of Boston, Boston City Council and Roxbury Tenants of Harvard have worked together to make sure the interests of all groups were accounted for.
“This is what we strive for in a partnership and collaboration for the good of the community,” said Secretary JudyAnn Bigby, MD, of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health & Human Services. “Today is just the beginning of a state of the art facility, in the shadow of a world class hospital that recognizes the importance of innovation while providing world class care.”
The end result of a decade of collaboration is a much-celebrated plan that includes:
The Fenwood Inn, a building that will provide outpatient services and transitional housing for up to 47 Department of Mental Health clients;
The Binney Street building, a six-story, 56,000-square-foot building that will provide clinical, research and administrative space for the Department of Mental Health for 10 years;
A 15-story residential building developed by the Roxbury Tenants of Harvard that includes 66 affordable rental units and 70 condominiums that will be a combination of affordable and market rate units; and
The Brigham building, a 358,000-square-foot-building to combine research and clinical functions, as well as an underground parking garage and connections to the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center.
Both the Fenwood Inn and the Binney Street building will carry the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Healthcare silver certification, a rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. The Binney Street building will have a green roof, making it aesthetically pleasing for occupants of the neighboring Shapiro Center, and also contributing to the LEED silver certification. The roof will feature plants in containers specifically designed for rooftop use, improving storm water retention on site and filtering contaminants and pollutants from the runoff. The redevelopment project also incorporates landscaped open space.
The first phase of the project has already begun. Construction crews are laying the foundations for the Fenwood Inn and the Binney Street buildings, both of which are expected to be ready for occupancy in October 2011. Construction of the Roxbury Tenants of Harvard building and Brigham building will follow.
“Individuals with serious mental illnesses want what we all want: to live, work and participate in their communities,” said Barbara Leadholm, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. “This new project will help us get them what they want and deserve.”
Linda Larsen, a Massachusetts Mental Health Center client, was one of the many community members to advocate for the preservation of the services provided by the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, beginning in 1994, when talks of shutting down the health center first began. Her grassroots efforts in the sixteen years that followed included the development of a newsletter started by patients and a bake sale fundraiser for the community.
“Now, we are moving back to our home on Fenwood Road,” Larsen said. “I can’t speak for all clients, but I can speak for many when I say ‘thank you so much for the life-saving efforts your facility has provided.’”