“My Administration is committed to continuing the excellent work that Governor Codey began to improve the state's mental health system and ensure consumers are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,” said Governor Corzine. “We have invested in efforts to expand community capacity, to provide appropriate training on our college campuses, and to continue the implementation of the recommendations of the Mental Health Task Force. Today's ribbon cutting is one more way of honoring the community we serve. It is only one more step, but an important one.”
The $200 million hospital, expected to open as soon as “punch-list” finalities and training are completed , will replace five aging treatment buildings and the 131-year-old administration building. It is a 450-bed facility in a single self-contained building that includes a treatment mall with over 21 rooms for various activities and a large auditorium. There are also cottages to house a total of 60 patients to help those ready to transition to more independent living.
“This new, state-of-the-art facility will be a shining symbol of the evolution of our state mental health system,” Commissioner Jennifer Velez told the hundreds of people who attended the ribbon-cutting. “I am glad to share this historic day with all of the people who worked so hard to make it happen. Today marks a new beginning that goes far beyond just bricks and mortar.”
The Commissioner noted that the new hospital was designed utilizing the best-practices in the mental health field. Now patients will be in a single, cohesive and therapeutic setting instead of spread out among many buildings, she added.
“This is the beginning of a new era in the humanization of mental health treatment. The patients I've met here over the years deserve nothing but the best and now, without question, they are getting it,” said Senate President Richard J. Codey. “I'm proud to be a part of this day and proud of everyone that helped make it possible.”
The construction project was a four-way partnership involving Department of Human Services and Treasury, the NJ Health Care Facilities Financing Authority (HCFFA), which arranged the financing, and the NJ Economic Development Authority (NJEDA ), which managed the design and construction.
“The construction of this building is a portrayal of our commitment and investment to the people of New Jersey in providing a place where people can get well and return to their communities and families and lead productive lives,” Assistant Commissioner Kevin Martone said.
Martone credited EDA Senior Project Officer Tom Catapano and Greystone Chief Executive Officer Janet Monroe for their dedication during construction.
The architect for the project was the Vitetta Group of Philadelphia . Torcon Inc. of Red Bank was the builder.
Former Governor Whitman in 2000 ordered that Greystone be closed or “dramatically reconfigured” to better meet modern patient needs.
Construction began in November 2005.
Greystone first opened its doors on August 17, 1876 as the New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum at Morristown . In 1924 the hospital was renamed Greystone Park after the building stones which are a light grey gneiss, resembling granite.
The main building at GPPH was the largest building in the United States until 1943, when the Pentagon was built. In the 1940's Greystone's population reached 7,000. Today, the GPPH census is about 475, which will easily be accommodated into the new building and cottages.
The last phase of the project will involve the demolition of the existing main structure and site improvements.