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of San Bruno CA
County Breaks Ground on New Facility with a Focus on Wellness, Recovery
Article Source: Countty of San Mateo CACounty Breaks Ground on New Facility with a Focus on Wellness, Recovery
April 28 2021
County of San Mateo is building a campus where adults experiencing a
severe mental illness can receive care in setting that feels more
residential than institutional.
This new campus will replace a
concrete colossus that first housed tuberculosis patients during the
Truman Administration. The design -- small-scale buildings, open-air
courtyards and communal spaces -- reflects advances in treatment with a
focus on recovery and well-being.
On April 12, 2021, advocates
for the mentally ill, treatment providers and local officials
celebrated the groundbreaking for the new $105 million Cordilleras
Mental Health Center, located on 20 acres of unincorporated land
between San Carlos and Redwood City. When it opens in 2023, it will
replace the current facility that opened in 1952 as a tuberculosis
hospital and transitioned to a mental health facility in the 1970s.
new facility will include four new 16-bed mental health rehabilitation
centers for 64 adults with severe mental illness and separate supported
housing that includes a community kitchen and dining area for 57 adults
with a lengthy history of mental illness. Once complete, the old
facility will be torn down.
"Our job is to take care of the most
vulnerable," San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine said at the
groundbreaking. "And the folks here are really the most vulnerable of
The design of the
new campus includes a central courtyard with sheltered outdoor seating,
a community garden and recreation courts.
Wellbeing by Design
current building is costly to operate and its cold, blocky design "is
poorly suited to current treatment practices," according to a County
staff report. A 2014 assessment found the building needed significant
and expensive repairs and upgrades.
In addition, sending local
residents to facilities in other counties is costly. Importantly,
out-of-county placements limits the ability of local health
professionals to monitor clients and makes it more challenging and
costly for family members to visit.
County officials decided to start fresh. The project design reflects the following principles:
► Focus on wellness
► Promotion of respect and optimism for clients, their families and staff
► Building of community
► Healing through nature
► Striving for recovery through world-class model of care
think just about every one of us, through a family member of through a
friend or through a friend of a friend, has been touched by mental
illness," Supervisor Carole Groom said at the groundbreaking. "Now we
are going to have this incredibly fine facility ... so we will know
that if that family member or that friend needs help, it’s here at
Cordilleras in San Mateo County."
In addition to housing and
treatment facilities, plans call for a new Campus Center that will
include a chapel, medication room, art center, exercise room and
volunteer center. It will also house a commercial kitchen where clients
can learn culinary skills and a retail store that will sell food
prepared in the kitchen and art work created by clients.
site is largely out of the public's view, nestled in a valley just
north of Edgewood Road on Edmonds Road between Alameda de las Pulgas
and Interstate 280. The design includes ample use of nature light and
for views of the surrounding woods.
County Manager Mike Callagy summoned up the philosophy that guided the buildings plan for both client care and design.
"One of the hallmarks of the County is that we care. And in caring, we create that remarkable experience for others."
new center will be California's first net-zero carbon emissions mental
health campus. Solar panels and engineering and mechanical systems,
consistent with the County Municipal Green Building Policy, are
expected to help the building achieve Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
The $155 million cost is expected to be paid for through the sale of bonds.
the original tuberculosis hospital opened in 1952, Dr. Harold D. Chope,
the County director of public health, called it "probably the most
modern in the state."