What to do with an imposing late 19th century two-story brick structure that is part of a mental health care facility in Grand Junction, Colorado remains a question complicated by plans for the patients who live at the site.
Operated by the Colorado Department of Human Services, the Grand Junction Regional Center at 2800 Riverside Parkway in east Grand Junction was once the home of the Teller Institute, a Native American boarding school.
Later housing a training school, the building, which is part of a larger 47-acre tree-lined campus, became the central part of the Grand Junction Regional Center in the late 1970s.
That center is owned and operated by the State of Colorado and provides 24-hour care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Because of the annual $11 million operational costs of the site, which includes more than two dozen buildings, some of which have long been vacant, plans have been in the works for several years to move the center’s residents to other locations.
Now, members of the Colorado State Legislature are discussing a bill that would provide over $6 million for the construction of several community-based facilities. Those facilities would serve as the new home to the center’s current 22 residents.
Colorado Department of Human Services officials say once the new facilities are constructed and the residents re-located, they can begin to focus on the future of the main Regional Center building, which is fronted by half a dozen imposing white columns and a spacious porch.
It has been previously suggested that the structure could be repurposed for residential or office purposes.
The funding legislation for the new community-based facilities is currently under consideration in the Colorado Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee.
By Garry Boulard
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