KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state moved ahead with plans to improve Hawaii's only public mental hospital in Kaneohe on Saturday.
A blessing ceremony took place before the demolition of the vacant Goddard Buildling at the Hawaii State Hospital.
Plans call for a highly-secured, 144-bed facility to be built to help alleviate overcrowding, which has compromised the safety of patients and employees.
"It represents the opportunity for us to begin builidng a proper forensic facility for our state hospital. This is about really making sure we can take care of Hawaii's patients and protect our community right outside of the doors of the state hospital, so this is a win win for all of us," Sen. Jill Tokuda said.
The demolition is expected to be complete in late August.
A $160-million request for a project to replace the Goddard Building is part of the governor's legislative package for this session.