PeaceHealth Sacred Heart breaks ground on new Behavioral Health Services unit


PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center, University District, broke ground Oct. 3 on the hospital's new inpatient Behavioral Health Services unit. The ceremony included a water blessing of the site, a performance by the PeaceHealth Celebration Choir and remarks by John Hill, CEO ofPeaceHealth Oregon West Network; Sister Monica Heeran, Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace and former Sacred Heart Administrator; and others.

The $13.8 million project provides a long-term solution for Behavioral Health services, with the 1969 Johnson Unit reaching the end of its useful life. The new 25,684-square-foot unit will be larger than the current space and will include 35 private rooms, 20 of them secure. The configuration will offer greater security and privacy to patients while ensuring staff safety. The unit will include a secure outdoor patio, day rooms and quiet activity areas. The design will help PeaceHealth provide the necessary care to all patients, including the increasing number of high-acuity patient who need services while experiencing severe mental health crises.

The project also includes critical safety upgrades to the University District Emergency Department, Eugene's only full-service emergency room and primary intake point for inpatient behavioral health patients. The plan converts five existing exam rooms into secure behavioral health hold/observation rooms, bringing the total number of secure rooms in the ED to nine.

PeaceHealth's investment comes at a time when many other providers in the state have reduced or eliminated inpatient behavioral health services, often due to financial challenges. The project underscores PeaceHealth's promise to continue meeting critical community needs.

"Everyone associated with this project is inspired by what the redesigned inpatient program will mean for the care and wellbeing of our community's most vulnerable patients," CEO John Hill said. "This is the essence of our Mission and Values as a Catholic health care organization."

Construction is scheduled for completion in about a year.