New Site Chosen for Washington Co. Crisis Stabilization Unit

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFTA) — New plans for a crisis stabilization unit could end up saving the county hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Washington County officials say they’re now moving the facility down the street.

A crisis stabilization unit in Washington County was set to open back in November 2018 at the Courthouse Annex on College Avenue in Fayetteville, but a delay in the construction set the date back.

Now the former Juvenile Detention Center just down the road is cleared out and ready to become the next CSU.

A mental-health crisis stabilization unit will reduce the number of people with a mental illness from entering jail.

The 16-bed voluntary crisis unit would provide care for those who need mental health services the most.

“We are diverting people with very real psychiatric illnesses with punishing or punitive environments to a healing environment,” Dr. Justin Hunt, Chief Medical Officer for Ozark Guidance said.

Washington County Attorney Brian Lester says the decision to move to 105 Mill Ave. in Fayetteville, a building that’s been used by the department of emergency management for years, was based on the fact that the county is trying to be as economical as possible.

“It already has the showers, it has the bathrooms, the correct fixtures on it, everything that the CSU needs and we estimate the build out on that is only going to cost $250,0000,” Lester said.

This change will save the county roughly $400,000 and will ultimately help the CSU open sooner. 

“The build-out is already done. There’s plenty of room,” Lester said.

A decision that Lester says will be worth it.

“Judge Wood didn’t want this to be a heavy burden on the taxpayers. While we understand the need for it, we want it up and running, we also want to be sure we are the best stewards of county funds that we can.”

The state is partnering with counties to pay for the operational costs of these facilities.

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