It was 150 years ago that concern about patient care for the mentally ill inspired the construction of Dorthea Dix Hospital. Today, officials claim the facility would cost more to rebuild than replace, so the state wants to build a 432-bed facility that would replace Dorthea Dix and John Umstead Hospital in Butner.
Three areas of the state are under consideration for the new hospital -- the Umstead property near Butner in Granville County, western Chatham County near Siler City and Wake County on the current Dorthea Dix property.
Lawmakers made the pitch in earnest for the project and the creation of 1,200 new jobs.
Rep. Jim Crawford, D-Granville, said he would like to see the facility in Granville County.
"Absolutely the best location, we have the work force. We don't have to start from scratch. The groundwork has been made," he said.
Rep. Joe Hackney, D-Orange, likes Chatham County for the proposed facility.
"It's central, central, central. It's in the middle of the area. It's an easy drive from the Triad, an easy drive from the Triangle and it's an easy drive from the Cumberland area," he said.
"There's one thing to look at the map. The next question is who actually lives within 30 miles of the psychiatric hospital and a million people live within 30 miles of Wake County," said Deborah Ross, D-Wake, who favors the proposed Wake County location.
The new facility will replace the 150-year-old facility at a cost of more than $110 million. Lawmakers are set to vote on a new location for the hospital Tuesday.
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