BEMIDJI -- It was a scene of jubilation for health professionals and government officials Thursday in Bemidji, with a celebration for a new mental health and detox treatment center.
The Sanford Health PrimeWest Residential Support Center is set to come online in the next few weeks, and before operations get underway, members of the community were able to take tours of the remodeled facility. Located at 3124 Hannah Ave. NW, the 6,800 square-foot building has beds for 14 people, 10 dedicated to mental health treatment and the other reserved for detox patients.
"I'm very pleased to stand here today, in front of this building, that so many people had a hand in bringing forward to our community," said Bryan Nermoe, Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota president. "At a time when people really need hope and support, this is going to be another component of that hope and support we can provide to people on their journey to better health."
The building, valued at $800,000, was donated by PrimeWest Health, an insurance system in the region, to Beltrami County. The county, aided by $1.2 million from the Legislature, then partnered with Sanford to create the support center.
Over the past several months, the $1.2 million from the county, and $1.5 million from Sanford, was invested into making the building capable of providing treatment for individuals in crisis or those in need of a longer stay of up to 90 days, as well as a 72-hour period of detox.
In addition to officials at Sanford and in county administration, law enforcement personnel played a major role, with former Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp taking charge. During his tenure as sheriff, Hodapp advocated for more options for those suffering with mental illnesses, who oftentimes would end up at the county jail because of a lack of available treatment
"It's very exciting. We're all very pleased with seeing this thing come to fruition," said Hodapp, who stepped down as sheriff after 12 years on Dec. 31. "You can liken it to a 99-yard touchdown drive, three yards at a time. It was just an incredible job of teamwork, with all of these people."
Ownership of the building will remain with the county, which is leasing it to Sanford for $1 a year. Government ownership is required to receive state support. At Thursday's ceremony, several legislators who supported the project were thanked and recognized for their efforts.
Legislators attending the event included former District 2A Rep. David Hancock, R-Bemidj, District 5A Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji and District 5 Sen. Justin Eichorn, R-Grand Rapids.