Virginia Mental Health Hospital Growth Delayed, Costs Rise

An architect working on the $22.3 million project at Western State Hospital based drawings on an outdated building code, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported

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Virginia state officials are telling lawmakers the expansion of a mental health hospital in Staunton is being delayed and costs are going up.

An architect working on the $22.3 million project at Western State Hospital based drawings on an outdated building code, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Monday.

The approximately nine-month delay that mistake caused comes as the state grapples with an overcrowding crisis at its mental hospitals. Officials say costs will be inflated by about $1 million. 

Republican House Appropriations Chairman Chris Jones says he is "bitterly disappointed" and the mistake shows "a lack of leadership." 

A top mental health official says the state's nine mental hospitals were operating at 97.5% of their capacity two weeks ago, with five housing more patients than beds.

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