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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Cathy Wolfe, Thurston County Commission Chair, 360-786-5440, or wolfec@co.thurston.wa.us
Mark Freedman, Social Services Director, 360-867-2558, or freedmm@co.thurston.wa.us

New Mental Health Triage Center to be Built
Thurston County Commissioners Award Contract to Local Firm

OLYMPIA - Thurston County Commissioners have awarded a construction contract to a Tumwater firm for conversion of existing office space into a Mental Health Triage Center.

The Thurston-Mason Behavioral Health Organization (TMBHO), a program of Thurston and Mason Counties, is set to open the new ten-bed facility at 3285 Ferguson St. SW in Tumwater in 2016. An existing single-story structure adjacent to the new Thurston County Accountability and Restitution Center (ARC) will be renovated to house the triage program. It will operate as a secure 24-hour, 7-day-per-week treatment facility licensed by the state Department of Health to assist individuals with mental illness who are in crisis.

Thurston County Commission Chair Cathy Wolfe says the facility will help with the goal of keeping those with mental challenges out of the corrections facility. "This type of mental health treatment facility will allow greater access to services for the impacted individuals. At the same time, it will cut down on the number of inmates at the ARC and should help keep people from re-offending."

The triage facility will be staffed 24-hours per day by medical, clinical, and security personnel. Individuals will be transported to the facility by emergency personnel or family members and they will be assisted with transportation when discharged.

County Social Services Director Mark Freedman says, "Our priority is to develop and maintain a safe and successful project that benefits individuals with mental illness. Our goal with this facility is to eliminate the use of jail as a psychiatric holding facility."

The existing building is approximately 11,000 square feet. Big Rock Construction Inc. of Tumwater will convert about 7,500 square feet into the triage facility at a cost of approximately $2,315,592.62.



County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3