Bronson Battle Creek is working on a plan to dramatically increase beds inpatient options for mental health clients, and bring jobs to the city.  The plan includes building a brand new facility to replace the old Fieldstone Center on North Washington.

Bronson’s 2019 Community Health Needs Assessments in Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties show a shortage of providers and inpatient beds across the region.  State data also indicates a need.

Today, the Bronson Healthcare system is licensed for 39 adult psychiatric beds at Bronson Battle Creek Hospital and 10 geropsychiatric beds at Bronson LakeView Hospital in Paw Paw.

Bronson Battle Creek is making plans to significantly expand access to inpatient behavioral health services by 2022.  The organization is in the beginning stages of a plan to add more licensed beds, providers, and staff, and to build a new inpatient behavioral health facility on a 10-acre plot within 40 acres of green space that Bronson Battle Creek owns at Glenn Cross Road and M-66.

M-66 and Glen Cross Road-Google Street View
M-66 and Glen Cross Road-Google Street View

The first steps in the plan involve increasing capacity right now.  Bronson Battle Creek has the application process to expand its license for inpatient behavioral health beds from the 39 it currently has at the Fieldstone Center to 83.

In the next couple of years, Bronson Battle Creek intends to relocate all 83 behavioral health beds to a new facility that would be developed through a joint venture with a strategic partner that brings industry expertise in operating inpatient behavioral health programs. A partner has been identified and will be announced when agreements have been finalized. The partner would invest in and build the new facility which will have the capacity for growth with approximately 100 beds.

Bronson Healthcare Board Chair Nelson Karre says the plan could be a significant economic boost to the Battle Creek community, calling it “a way Bronson can support economic vitality by growing jobs in Battle Creek. Behavioral health staff will quadruple from the 50 we have today at the Fieldstone Center to approximately 200 once the new facility is fully operational.”

The Fieldstone Center could be a casualty of the new growth. The building, which once housed “Battle Creek Adventist Hospital”, will remain in use for behavioral health services until the new facility opens in 2022.  Bronson says after that, the building will continue to be used by Bronson Battle Creek for other purposes.  Kirk Richardson, senior vice president and chief operating officer for Bronson Battle Creek, says, “The Fieldstone Center has served us well over the years, but it is not adaptable to renovation and expansion in a way that will meet evolving industry standards and the growing needs of our patients.”

Battle Creek Sanitarium Hospital-Willard Library
Battle Creek Sanitarium Hospital-Willard Library

The Fieldstone Center at 165 N. Washington Avenue was originally part of Battle Creek College, becoming the Battle Creek Sanitarium Hospital and then the Battle Creek Adventist Hospital in 1981. The Adventist Hospital merged with the Battle Creek Health System in 1994.  At one time, it was known as a modern 114-bed community hospital providing medical and surgical facilities as well as a complete inpatient mental health program with supportive services. These included in- and outpatient alcohol and drug treatment programs and psychological testing and counseling.

Click below to hear WBCK's Tim Collins talking with Kirk Richardson, senior vice president and chief operating officer for Bronson Battle Creek.

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