EVERETT — Compass Health leaders say it’s time to look for $4 million in donations, and anyone interested in supporting the agency’s goal to treat people’s behavioral and mental health can chip in.
The money is needed to finish the Everett-based provider’s capital campaign, which began Thursday. Compass Health already has $10 million in commitments for construction of a building to replace its current Broadway campus in Everett.
The capital campaign, called “It’s time,” would fund the second phase of redevelopment at Compass Health’s Broadway campus. People can choose between $10 and $1,000 donations or their own amount at www.compasshealth.org/itstime. Donations are tax deductible.
Andy’s Place, a permanent supportive apartment building with 82 units just west of its Broadway building, opened in May 2021. Every apartment is occupied, Compass Health CEO Tom Sebastian said.
The Broadway building is dated. Plumbing was failing, Sebastian said. Originally built in 1920, it used to be a home for seniors recovering from ailments.
While some elements were updated over the decades, its current configuration wasn’t meeting modern standards for a facility where people are treated for behavioral and mental health conditions, Sebastian said. Most rooms didn’t have windows, and one now-shuttered bedroom during a tour Wednesday had plastic boards mounted onto the walls with buzzing fluorescent lighting overhead.
“This is not a therapeutic environment,” Sebastian said.
The goal of the new building is for its spaces to be “less institutional,” he said.
Renderings of the new 72,000-square-foot four-story building show more open common spaces for gathering and eating.
Some of the design elements were based on input from staff, chief operating officer Stacey Alles said.
Patients would have access to an open-air courtyard. Providence opened something similar recently for its inpatient unit.
One rendering shows a room with built-in furniture and windows that don’t open — both for the patients’ safety, Compass Health leaders said.
Inpatient rooms with space for two people would have walls painted a dark blue-gray-green. Those colors can elicit calm for patients, Sebastian said.
“We want them to feel safe, we want them to feel welcome,” Alles said. “It’s hard enough for them being here.”
The new building would have 16 inpatient beds for people with orders for involuntary treatment. That would double Compass Health’s current availability with another 16 beds at a facility in Mukilteo.
It also would have space for a 16-bed triage unit that works with people experiencing an acute mental health crisis. That service already exists at the Broadway campus.
There would be staff on-site every hour and every day.
In the redeveloped facility, Compass Health plans to offer intensive outpatient services, plus offices for staff who work in prevention, outreach and community engagement.
Instead of needing to transfer locations and providers, patients could stay at the Broadway campus as their condition improves.
In all, Compass Health could have up to 200 employees at the new facility and handle around 1,500 patients per year. Clients will come primarily from Snohomish County, with others from Island and Skagit counties.
But the goal is to keep people who need behavioral and mental health treatment in and close to their community, instead of them needing to go to a state facility, Sebastian said. The closest state-run mental health hospital is in Lakewood, south of Tacoma.
The new facility would have a new entrance for emergency responders to bring patients. Accessed from the alley, it would be more private than its current location, Compass Health leaders said.
Boosting inpatient treatment and having a better system for people having a mental health crisis should ease the burden that currently strains law enforcement and emergency medical service departments, Sebastian said.
“If we’re not here to provide that care, it’s going to happen in a jail setting, or a hospital setting, or a state institution,” he said.
The permit for demolition was approved in July, according to city of Everett documents. Demolition of the current brick exterior building, called the Bailey Center, could begin early next year. It’s about a year later than earlier envisioned.
The capital campaign got an early boost from the Sunderland Foundation’s $3 million, Rep. Rick Larsen secured $2 million in federal funding, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and The Norcliffe Foundation each gave $1 million, and Premera Blue Cross contributed $600,000.
Compass Health has further plans for a third phase of redevelopment on the other half of the site. It could be up to seven stories, with 74 housing units in 41,200 square feet, an outpatient clinic and administrative offices.
Ben Watanabe: 425-339-3037; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @benwatanabe.
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