State Officials Hope to Renovate Fulton State Hospital

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FULTON - A joint committee met Tuesday at the Fulton State Hospital to discuss a new plan that would renovate the hospital completely.  The plan would require demolishing eight of the current hospital buildings. The hospital treats more than 300 psychiatric patients.

The plan would cost more than $200 million. Directors of the Department of Mental Health discussed current critical issues with the hospital including limited natural light, deteriorating buildings, and food services utilizing extra war equipment.

Department of Mental Health Director Mark Stringer said that the need for renovation is critical, and that it would help in taking care of the patients.

"This is a place that has not closed since 1861. We have to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, no matter the weather because we have people who have no where else to go, and require the most intense type of supervision and care. If we want to see people get well, we need safe healthy facilities." Stringer said.

A state senator at the meeting said this renovation is a high priority.

"What we we would recommend is how to pay for it, whether it be through a bonding bill, should that be through maybe raising taxes, or the other ways to do that." said Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg.

If the plan continues, Stringer said the renovation would take four to five years.