ST. CLOUD - Almost two years to the day after construction began, the St. Cloud VA Medical Center cut the ribbon on their new Mental Health Building. The new building, Building 115, is about 19,000 square feet, which provides space for inpatient psychiatric care. It will be housing the acute mental health patients. Nurse Manager Colette Bresnahan says this new space provides a safe, and modern environment for patients.

She says, "The VA has made those changes nationally, each area has made those changes on the acute mental health units, and we have made substantial impact in the number of attempted or completed suicides on an inpatient unit. That says a lot for the safety measures and incentives that have been put in place on acute mental health units in the VA."  

Building 28 west currently houses the program. When it is moved into the Building 115, the second floor of Building 28 will be remodeled.

Bresnahan says the whole second floor will be rehab treatment program beds. This will allow for all the beds to be located near each other, instead of spread through out the VA Campus. The extra space will also allow more beds to be added.

(Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON)

Bresnahan says the contemporary look of the new space will be better for the people they are serving.

"We worked very hard over the last many years to keep our environment feeling contemporary," says Bresnahan, "feeling like it's the best type of environment with softer colors, and softer light, better acoustics. I think as we move into this particular new building, those features will be more prominent." 

The Mental Health Building will begin serving Veterans on April 1st. The St. Cloud VA Medical Center was originally opened in 1925, and has been serving Veterans for 88 years.