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Groundbreaking Begins Thursday For New Mental Hospital In Butner

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The groundbreaking for a new mental hospital in Butner to replace Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh is scheduled for Thursday.

Dorothea Dix Hospital, which has been open for 150 years, is set to close in 2007. The current property sits on prime real estate that is the

source of debate

about what to do after the facility closes.

In the 1970s, the Dix property included three lakes, 282 buildings and 1,300 acres of farmland. In the 1980s, the state transferred 1,000 acres of Dix property to N.C. State's Centennial Campus. In 2002, because of its disrepair, lawmakers decided it would cost more to repair than to replace.

The new facility will be about half the size of Dorothea Dix Hospital, but state health officials said it coincides with a move towards more local and community care with less emphasis on big state institutions.

The Butner facility is expected to take about two years to complete.

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