OSWEGO — After years of planning and 13 months of construction, Oswego Health’s new behavioral health center is almost ready to open to the public.
The Lakeview Center for Mental Health and Wellness is now located at the former Price Chopper location at 29 E. Cayuga St. Officials broke ground on the facility on Oct. 9, 2019, promising to turn the dilapidated grocery store, which had sat empty for years, into a state-of-the-art treatment provider with in-patient and out-patient services.
“This new facility gives mental health care in Oswego County a unique opportunity to rebrand and rename,” said Oswego Health Senior Director of Communicaitons Jamie Leszczynski. “I think that people’s first look and experience through those doors will put them at ease, make them feel at home, make them feel comforted and welcomed.”
Mental health issues impact more than 20 percent of American adults, experts say.
Oswego Health currently operates a behavioral health facility on Bunner Street in the city of Oswego, but will “completely vacate” that location after the Lakeview Center completes a final site inspection on Dec. 23.
“(Bunner Street) will be turned back over to the county,” Leszczynski said. “We will be transferring services over to the new facility, moving patients over, making sure everything is up and running.”
The project began in earnest after Oswego Health bought the site from the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency for $650,000 in 2017 and development was aided by a $13 million state grant. The Bunner Street facility, currently owned by Oswego County and leased by Oswego Health, will be turned back over to the government, officials said.
The 40,000-square-foot Lakeview Center is anticipated to employ roughly 35 to 40 people in addition to a full-time nurse practitioner.
“I am immensely proud to have this facility as part of the Oswego Health system,” said Michael C. Backus, Oswego Health COO and EVP. “Our staff is excited to be able to offer such critical services to the public in a state-of-the-art environment.”
The new center will have in-patient and out-patient services, a new wing for people aged 55 and over, and a new primary care center for residents to have ease receiving medical attention.
“Through research, we found that a majority of the population that we serve do not have a primary care provider,” Leszczynski said. “We will have a primary care provider right on site. To help with medication management, therapy management, sick visits, or any sort of service, a primary care provider will provide.”
Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow says he is excited to see the new facility and highlighted the facility’s benefits to the community utilizing the vacant lot.
“I am excited to see the health center move toward completion and believe the strong presence of a reputable health care facility like Oswego Health is an enormous benefit to the Oswego community," Barlow said. “The lot previously sat vacant and dilapidated for a number of years and the use by Oswego Health is appropriate.”