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DBHDS News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  September 17, 2013


RICHMOND – Virginia’s second oldest mental health hospital, Western State, will officially open doors next week to its newly-constructed, 246-bed hospital. Media are invited to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony on:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.
at the New Western State Hospital
103 Valley Center Drive Staunton, VA 24401

“The design of the new hospital incorporates special features that facilitate the delivery of highly-specialized, recovery-oriented treatment and provides a very secure environment,” said Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Commissioner Jim Stewart. “This new setting will not only enhance the provision of treatment but will also support the development of life skills needed for living independently upon discharge.”

Construction on the state-of-the-art, $140.5 million facility began in 2010 on a 66-acre site previously owned by the City of Staunton. Patients will be moved from the hospital’s current campus in late October. The new hospital was built by Balfour Beatty Construction in Fairfax, Virginia.

The city deeded the property to the state and contributed $15 million towards the building project. In turn, Staunton received approximately 275 acres occupied by the hospital, excluding land currently occupied by the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents.

“Over years of use, our old campus became costly to maintain, difficult to manage safely, and it did not adequately support individualized treatment for patients,” said Jack Barber, director of Western State Hospital. “The new hospital is more secure, safer and will help the commonwealth’s citizens recover and regain their lives in the community for years to come.”

Western State was first opened in 1828 in downtown Staunton. The campus that the hospital is moving from now was built in the 1950s and 1960s for approximately 1,800 long-term residents with few active treatment programs. With improvements to community-based care, the patient population has been reduced from its peak of 3,300 in 1963 to approximately 215 today. Operated by DBHDS, Western State is one of eight state-run adult mental health hospitals across the commonwealth.

Directions to the Hospital:
From I-81 take 250 West (Richmond Ave.) towards Staunton. Turn right onto Frontier Road (Sheetz on left). Frontier Road becomes National Avenue. Proceed 0.7 miles on National Ave. The entrance to Valley Center Drive is on the right.


Available to citizens statewide, Virginia’s public behavioral health and developmental disabilities services system is comprised of 40 community services boards (CSBs) and 16 state facilities. DBHDS seeks to promote dignity, choice, recovery, and the highest possible level of participation in work, relationships, and all aspects of community life for individuals with mental illness, developmental disabilities or substance-use disorders.


1220 Bank Street P.O. Box 1797 Richmond, Virginia 23218-1797

Phone: (804) 786-3921 Fax: (804) 371-6638 Web site:




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