OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) announced Monday it will construct a new 330-bed mental health hospital on the Oklahoma State University Oklahoma City (OSU-OKC) campus.

The hospital will be named Donahue Behavioral Health.

According to ODMHSAS officials, the new state-of-the-art facility will offer an array of innovative services that Oklahomans rely on during their most vulnerable moments. Care will include care for adults and children, referrals to outpatient services and the most acute care services offered.  

The $147 million, 200,000-plus-square-foot facility will serve 275 adults and 55 adolescents daily.

OKC Mental health leaders say this increases ODMHSAS operational capacity by 100 beds, and includes an Urgent Recovery Center (URC). URCs increase immediate accessibility to services for Oklahomans experiencing a mental health crisis. 

The Donahue campus, which will be located on the OSU-OKC campus near I-44 and West Reno Avenue in Oklahoma City, is expected to add approximately 250 jobs to the local economy.  

The five-year economic impact of the new hospital to the OKC metro is estimated at $447.5 million, both in job creation, taxes, emergency room costs and homelessness. 

“This hospital is an investment, dedicated to the people of Oklahoma,” said ODMHSAS Commissioner Carrie Slatton-Hodges. “With the support from Gov. Kevin Stitt, the Oklahoma state Legislature and OSU, ODMHSAS will deliver quality, efficient and effective behavioral health treatment services. Our staff is dedicated to serving the people of Oklahoma for another 100 years.” 

The OSU-OKC location was selected based on ease of access, community support and the opportunity to draw upon broader workforce development partnerships and support resources.

“Oklahoma State University is committed to improving the mental health of all Oklahomans,” said OSU President Kayse Shrum. “The location of this new,modern facility will provide better access for Oklahomans and advance OSU’s One Health mission to serve the state and address our most pressing needs.” 

The announcement of the new mental health hospital in Oklahoma City and the recent groundbreaking of a new mental health hospital near OSU Medical Center in downtown Tulsa highlight Oklahoma’s visionary progress in  mental health treatment and care.

As ODMHSAS continues to offer critical resources, its mission compliments creating a system of care that reaches Oklahomans proactively and throughout their healthcare journey. The department will expand care by now offering another centralized location in Oklahoma City. 

Donahue Behavioral Health creates the opportunity to explore collaborative health programming opportunities with the school. 

“Medical workforce challenges, particularly in the psychiatric field, are a significant barrier to treatment access nationwide,” said Slatton-Hodges. 

The Oklahoma Legislature provided $87 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money to fund hospital construction. To receive ARPA funding, the Oklahoma Legislature stipulated the new facility must be located within 30 miles of the Capitol.

Once complete, Donahue Behavioral Health will replace Griffin Memorial Hospital.

“We have been located in Norman for over a century, and made our decision based on what is best for the people we serve and the state as a whole,” said Slatton-Hodges. “Donahue Behavioral Health is expected to open in 2026 and will house the Griffin psychiatric residency program. The long-standing program was established decades ago to help address a shortage of psychiatrists statewide.”  

Donahue Behavioral Health honors Dr. Hayden Donahue, who served as Oklahoma’s first director of mental health in 1953. He is credited for revolutionizing mental illness treatment in Oklahoma.

The hospital was also made possible in part thanks to the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, Kirkpatrick Family Fund and Arnall Family Foundation.

Norman legislators on Tuesday responded to the relocation of Griffin Memorial Hospital and Children’s Recovery Center to Oklahoma City.

Sen. Mary Boren, Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, Rep. Annie Menz, and Rep. Jared Deck released the following statement Tuesday regarding the upcoming relocation.

“As a Norman delegation, we’re disappointed that the services and jobs provided by Griffin Memorial Hospital are being relocated. We’ve worked diligently for communication between ODMHSAS and their employees about the potential move, which finally occurred Monday, September 11, just hours prior to the press release issued by the department. The four of us received the initial news of Griffin’s potential relocation in December 2022 by reading the same article that Griffin employees read in the media. We were frustrated to learn this decision had been years in the making with little input from the people of Norman.”

— Sen. Mary Boren, D-Norman

“As of last week, the last word we had from ODMHSAS was that a final decision would be made in October. Last night’s press release, which was not sent to legislators, also failed to mention the relocation of Children’s Recovery Center along with Griffin. The handling of this situation is another example of the executive branch’s lack of transparency and lack of communication with the folks at the receiving end of its decisions.”

— Rep. Annie Menz, D-Norman

“We’ve spent months trying to work with ODMHSAS to provide a new urgent recovery center, much needed support to the Central Oklahoma Community Mental Health Center, and expanded services for patients. Our priority is maintaining and expanding mental health services within Norman and supporting affected state employees. We note that the announcement by ODMHSAS states dependence upon the sale of their owned properties to complete the building fund equation. The City of Norman, Cleveland County, and several non-profit organizations have an interest in those properties, but the century-old Griffin Hospital land has potential environmental issues that cannot be ignored.”

— Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman

“The Norman delegation will work with the Oklahoma Public Employees Association and other stakeholders to ensure ODMHSAS holds up to its word that every current Griffin employee has an opportunity to continue their career serving patients. It’s vital to remember that these decisions impact patients first and foremost. Any disruption of services can have a detrimental effect on those in need. We’ll continue fighting for patients, employees, and constituents to whom state government must be accountable.”

— Rep. Jared Deck, D-Norman