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Officials break ground for new state psychiatric hospital

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Officials broke ground Friday for a new state psychiatric hospital to be built in the Thumb.

For more than a hundred years, the hospital in the small community of Caro, about 30 miles east of Saginaw, has been treating Michiganders with serious illnesses. Starting in 1914, the facility treated people suffering from epilepsy.  The focus shifted to patients with psychiatric disorders in the 1950s.

Currently, the facility can handle up to 150 patients.

But the aging facility has been in need of a major upgrade for years. Officials say the new facility will meet that need.

“We believe the benefits of a new hospital will affect our patient outcomes, our patient and family satisfaction, patient safety, staff efficiency and satisfaction … as well as organizational outcomes,” says Rose Laskowski, the center’s director.

Construction on the new $115 million dollar, 200 bed facility in Caro will begin next Spring. The 225,000 square-foot facility is scheduled to open in 2021.

When the decision was made to build a new state of the art facility, some lawmakers wanted tobuild it elsewhere in the state.

Mayor Joe Greene says that would have cost his small town hundreds of jobs.

“I know everyone involved realized the nightmare it would have been if the Caro Center closed down for this area” says Greene, “Closing the Caro Center would have caused economic disaster for this area of the Thumb.”

Greene says, with the center remaining in Caro, his community can continue to grow.   

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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