Construction continues on new behavioral health center as patient visits climb in Juneau

Construction workers at the site of Bartlett Regional Hospital’s new building for its behavioral health department. (Photo by Claire Stremple/KTOO)

The steel framing that’s now visible along Egan Drive south of Twin Lakes is the future home of Bartlett Regional Hospital’s behavioral health department. It’s been under construction since last June. It’s now expected to be finished later than originally planned and will cost more money.

The four-story building will house an outpatient care and crisis stabilization center. Hospital officials say it will be the first residential behavioral health care for youth and adults in the region. Bartlett currently sends youth patients to Anchorage for such care. Officials say there is no equivalent care for adults in the state.

The cost estimate for the project jumped from nearly $14 million to $18 million due to inflation and an increase in the cost of materials.

The building was originally scheduled to be completed late this year. Now the hospital estimates construction will last until Spring of 2023.

The upgrade comes as demand for behavioral health care continues to rise. Officials say there are about 50 people waiting for care after an initial assessment. The estimated wait time for a therapist is 8 weeks.

Claire Stremple

Alaska News Reporter, KTOO

I believe every Alaskan has a right to timely information about their health and health systems, and their natural environment and its management. My goal is to report thoughtful stories that inform, inspire and quench the curiosity of listeners across the state.

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