State breaks ground on new $140M (near escape-proof) State Hospital building

State Hospital, Kaneohe. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
State Hospital, Kaneohe. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Updated: Aug. 8, 2018 at 9:19 PM HST
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KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state broke ground Wednesday on a new mental health facility in Kaneohe. The upgrade was spurred by the controversial escape of psycopathic killer Randall Saito last year.

The Governor helped launch the construction of the new 144-bed hospital which will be located on the mauka side of the existing facility.

It's been in the planning stages for years, but Saito's escape last November prompted the state to speed up the project and increase security.

"It will be a secure, state of the art, cutting edge, safe building. It will be extremely hard, if not impossible for someone to escape from this building," Bill May, Hawaii State Hospital Administrator said.

The new building will be enclosed by a 16 foot high fence, and all of the common areas will be monitored by video cameras around the clock.

"Just as medical care has evolved, behavioral health is also changing and is demanding new ways of caring for patients and new ways of designing care facilities," Dr. Bruce Anderson said.

It's a facility that cost the state $140 million. Construction is expected to be completed in late 2020, and occupied by the following year.

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