Spokane Journal of Business

Excelsior receives $2 million state health facilities grant

Nonprofit says funds to be used to increase size of planned new structure

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Spokane nonprofit Excelsior Youth Center has been awarded a $2 million Behavioral Health Facilities grant.

Andrew Hill, president at Excelsior, located at 3754 W. Indian Trail Road, says the youth center plans to use the funding to double projected capacity at its soon-to-be constructed youth transition facility.

Excelsior serves youth and their families through a variety of behavioral health, education, and therapeutic recreation programs and services.

“For several years, we’ve been planning to build a 16-bed facility on campus, with the $2 million we were awarded from the 2015 Behavior Health Facilities grant to expand our LifePoint transition program,” says Hill. “This additional funding will allow us to add a second story and double capacity at the new building.”

Hill says the new 9,000-square-foot facility was designed by South Henry Studios LLC, of Spokane, and Bouten Construction Co., also of Spokane, is the contractor for the project.

He says Excelsior hopes to begin construction in early fall and complete construction next summer.

“We determined that adding a second story to our existing plans would be the best use of the funding,” he says. “This will allow us to reduce beds at our current facility, which can then be geared more toward outpatient capacity.”

Hill says Excelsior also has begun making site improvements, such as removing nonnative trees in favor of indigenous varieties, renovating the campus gym, and adding a new recreational ropes course.

“We’re always looking to integrate recreational services into Excelsior’s offerings,” he says. “With this new facility, we’re also working to make site and environmental improvements that include recreational based activities designed to engage youth and recently we had a private donor step up to fund the first phase of our ropes challenge course.”

Hill says the ropes course is made up of nine elements so far, including a low ropes course, two climbing trees, and a 750-foot zip line.

“Phase two will bring in five to seven more elements, and the last phase will add a couple more for a total of about 22,” he says. “We’re very excited to have this first phase complete.” 

Hill says activities like the ropes course can be used in group counseling and youth behavioral health exercises.

“In adding more recreational opportunities, we’re starting the shift away from medical and behavioral health, to more engagement and social activities,” he says. “We still have those services in the background, but we see this as a new way to approach youth that’s different than the traditional doctor or counselor visit.”

The grant Excelsior received this year was among $39 million in grants awarded by the Washington state Department of Commerce, to 18 health care providers across the state, which are expected to create 341 additional beds at behavioral health facilities.

The grants align with Gov. Jay Inslee’s five-year plan to modernize and transform the state’s mental health care systems by shifting away from large institutions to smaller, community-based facilities.

LeAnn Bjerken
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Reporter LeAnn Bjerken is the most recent addition to the Journal's news team. A poet, cat lover and antique enthusiast, LeAnn is also an Eastern Washington University alum.

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