WILLMAR (LEARFIELD) – Officials are breaking ground in Willmar today on a new child and adolescent mental health hospital to replace an outdated facility run by the state Human Services Department.

“Brand new 16 bed mental health facility for our sickest of the kids who need help not only to prevent hurting others or themselves, but who are dealing with some pretty severe stuff,” said Rep. Dave Baker (R-Willmar).

Baker says when former Gov. Mark Dayton proposed closing the current facility, some wanted to build the new facility in the Twin Cities, but he says Willmar made more sense.

“Actually Willmar, and Kandiyohi County area we’re in the central part of the state, and not everything has to be located in the metro,” said Baker. “We can recruit some amazing doctors and mental health professionals here and there’s already a great staff who have been working here and taking care of our children already.”

Officials hope to have the $10-million, 18-thousand-square-foot facility open in 2020. They say it will employ about 30 staff.