Lutheran Community Services NW officially takes ownership of vacated hospital facility with plans to utilize it for multiple mental health services

JASON CHANEY - The Pioneer Memorial Hospital facility has sat vacant since St. Charles Prineville opened in September 2015. Crook County Mental Health Department will begin moving into the former pharmacy and medical clinic (entrance shown above) in early July.

It is now official. Lutheran Community Services Northwest is the owner of the vacated Pioneer Memorial Hospital facility.

Scott Willard, former Crook County Mental Health Director, first announced plans to purchase the building for $1.5 million in early November 2016. The Crook County Court held a meeting at the empty building, where Willard laid out potential plans to convert the 12-acre campus and 96,000 square feet of building space for a multitude of mental health services.

Now that the purchase from the Pioneer Memorial Hospital Foundation is complete, several Crook County Mental Health programs and staff plan to move into the building this coming summer.

"We are looking at some minor renovations — just sprucing some things up," said Melissa Scaramuzzo, who took over as the county's mental health director this past fall. "Our goal is to be in by July 1."

Lutheran Community Services, the organization through which Crook County Mental Health Department contracts its services, will move programs into the PMH facility in phases.

"Phase one, we will be using the old pharmacy and the clinic," Scaramuzzo said. "That is really for quite a few of our programs."

Those programs moving in this summer include one for child and families, wraparound services, intellectual and developmental disabilities, substance abuse disorders and adult mental health.

While some of the programs are still located at facilities on Northeast Court Street and on Northeast Elm Street, others will not have to move far at all.

"We are currently located right next door in the Prineville Medical Associates building," Scaramuzzo said of the main mental health department facility. "We will just be moving right across the parking lot to the PMH building."

Toward the end of 2018, they will enter phase two of the transition, which includes the relocation of the department's assertive community treatment program, its crisis program and its community support services program.

"In phase two, we have identified the ER (emergency room) and OR (operating room) spaces as being potential options for our resource centers and our community support services, assertive community treatment program, crisis programs – that kind of thing," Scaramuzzo said.

While the moving effort takes place, Crook County Mental Health will look for ways to partner with community organizations that are closely connected to its programs, and offer options to co-locate. Scaramuzzo added that they will initiate conversations with such entities as Mosaic Medical and Advantage Dental to co-locate at the new site.

"For the rest of the building, there is talk about renting it out to other organizations that may better utilize the space," Scaramuzzo stated. "There are just so many endless possibilities."

As move-in day approaches, Scaramuzzo is eager to find out exactly what the new location for mental health services can offer for the community.

"We are so excited," she said.

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