Work could begin later this year on the construction of a new behavioral health care facility in the northern Colorado county of Larimer.
County officials have long wanted to build a large updated health care treatment and counseling facility, especially after a study released in 2015 showed that some 90 percent of those booked into the Larimer County Jail in Fort Collins had some sort of mental illness or substance abuse issue.
Two years ago, county voters approved a quarter-percent sales tax to pay, among other things, for the construction of a new facility.
Since then members of a local behavioral health policy council, as well as the Larimer County Commission, have reviewed site options for a facility that would house up to 64 beds and be built in a tree-lined, campus-like setting.
The next step - determining the exact site for the new facility - has proved more challenging with commission members reviewing a series of locations ranging in size from around 50 acres to 90 acres, but failing to arrive at a final decision.
Those sites have been located in both the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland.
The county has indicated that it is willing to spend up to $4 million to purchase the land for the project, with another $20 to $30 million going to actually building the new facility.
Reports indicate that a site selection will at last be made by the commission by this fall, with construction beginning shortly afterwards.
If all goes as anticipated, the new behavioral health facility could be completed by late 2021.
By Garry Boulard
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