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Monday, March 4, 2013

Fairfax County mental health services to move from Woodburn Rd. to new building

An artist's rendering of the Willow Oaks/Mid-County building.
The new building under construction off Route 50 at Willow Oaks Corporate Drive will house Fairfax County mental health and related services.

The $48.5 million project is expected to be completed in summer 2014 with the new occupants scheduled to move in during the fall, said Carey Needham, director of the building design and construction division in the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services.

 Several years ago, Fairfax County traded the site of the current mental health services building on Woodburn Road, Annandale to Inova Health Systems for the new site. Inova will tear down the old building to make room for its expanding medical facilities at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

Work on the new site started last summer.
The new 200,000-square foot Willow Oaks/Mid-County Human Services Center will have more room for mental health services than the old cramped quarters on Woodburn Road and will also consolidate other Fairfax County health services currently in leased space in buildings on Democracy Lane and Jermantown Road in Fairfax.

The new building will have five stories with the lower level partially below ground, said Needham. The site will also have an above-ground parking structure for about 700 cars. Inova will lease the fourth floor of the new building, which was designed by Noritake Associates of Alexandria. Manhattan Construction was awarded the building contract.

In addition to providing services for people with mental health and substance use concerns and intellectual disabilities, the new building will have a clinic where people receiving behavioral services will also be able to get primary health care services, said Belinda Buescher, communications director for the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB), which operates the county’s mental health programs.

“This is important because many people with mental health challenges have no primary health care provider,” said Buescher. “In fact, nationwide, the average life span for someone with serious mental illness is 25 years shorter than that of the rest of the population, simply because they don’t receive basic screening and treatment for common, preventable conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.”

Sometimes a family member brings someone with a severe behavioral crisis to the mental health services center, she said. Often, though, people are brought there by the police who are called to a scene where someone is exhibiting distressing behavior and needs acute care or detoxification. CSB’s  mobile crisis unit, available 24/7 to respond to emergencies, such as a person threatening suicide, will be based in the new building.

Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth and community members were closely involved in planning the new facility, which will have enhanced security features and an environmentally friendly design.

As part of the land swap, Inova agreed to implement several infrastructure improvements on Arlington Boulevard, Willow Oaks Corporate Drive, and Williams Drive, including traffic lights, a stormwater pond, retaining walls, and wetland mitigation provisions.

1 comment:

  1. Very good. Sounds like the county got a good deal.