Georgia to close former mental hospital complex on Oct. 1

By The Associated Press
Posted 11:15AM on Monday 27th July 2020 ( 10 months ago )

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Georgia authorities will close remaining activities at a former mental hospital in Thomasville on Oct. 1 following state budget cuts.

The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities told lawmakers it would abandon the former Southwestern State Hospital in Thomasville, as well as a former hospital in Rome, because lawmakers were cutting $123 million as part of an overall 10% state budget cut. Both are no longer inpatient mental hospitals, but the department had continued to maintain them.

Department spokeswoman Angelyn McDonald tells the Thomasville Times-Enterprise that 81 employees work at the Thomasville campus. She said some employees are seeking transfers to other Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities facilities.

Of the 19 buildings on the campus, eight are occupied. DBHDD leases two buildings to Georgia Pines Community Service Board and the Georgia Department of Community Supervision. The community service board will also stop operations there. Both will seek other local offices. McDonald said her department isn't sure of the plans of the Department of Community Supervision, which oversees people on probation and parole.

“As the state moves forward to find a better use for the former Southwestern property, their first priority is to ensure that the service providers still housed there can be effectively and efficiently relocated with as little interruption of services as possible,” said state Rep. Darlene Taylor, a Thomasville Republican.

The Southwestern complex has been for sale since the mental hospital closed.

Anyone interested in purchasing the 200-acre tract must be approved by the Thomasville Payroll Development Authority. Executive Director Shelley Zorn said that if no buyer comes forward, the state will seek bids on the property.

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