A 96-bed mental health hospital to treat adults, children and seniors is proposed for a vacant parcel in Templeton across from Twin Cities Community Hospital.
Louisiana-based Vizion Health LLC wants to build the hospital along with a smaller assisted-living facility for seniors at 1155 Las Tablas Road. The projects are slated to go before the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors in a combined application early next year.
Jan Hochhauser, an architect with Hochhauser Blatter Architecture and Planning in Santa Barbara, is heading up design of the roughly $25 million project.
The hospital would be a two-story secure facility to treat a variety of mental conditions such as depression, anxiety disorder, suicidal thoughts, schizophrenia, social phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and eating disorders — “really just the gamut of what a population would deal with,” Hochhauser said.
Its design is not prison-like, he added. A typical stay would average from seven to 10 days.
“It’s not a locked-down facility. People will be there at will,” he said. “A physician can admit somebody, but then the person can sign out against medical advice, just like you can at an existing hospital.”
Patient treatment will involve psychiatrists and psychologists providing therapy and “the appropriate medications,” Hochhauser said.
As designed, about half of the mental hospital’s patients would be children and adolescents, with adult and geriatric clients each slated to take up 25 percent of services.
Property owner Harvey Billing previously had a 192-bed assisted living facility approved for the site in 2007, Hochhauser said, but that project was abandoned five years later because of financing and demand issues.
The site’s new plan calls for a 70,000-square-foot behavioral health hospital and a 63,670-square-foot assisted-living facility with 50 to 60 beds, according to the application.
The project is headed by Mark Schnieder, president and chief executive officer of Vizion Healthcare LLC, who has extensive experience in the behavioral health field, including heading up similar projects, according to a biography provided by Hochhauser.
In recent months, presentations on the project have been made in town hall-style community meetings in Templeton as well as before the Templeton Area Advisory Group, which makes recommendations to the county Board of Supervisors.
Those meetings have generated both support and criticism, Hochhauser said, with some people expressing fears that the facility would be similar to Atascadero State Hospital, a forensic hospital in southern Atascadero that treats mentally ill violent offenders from the state’s courts and correctional system.
In contrast, the proposed mental health hospital is designed to treat adults, children and seniors in the community.
Information on the number of people the facility would employ was not available.