Friday, March 19, 2004 | 10:53 a.m.
CARSON CITY -- Gov. Kenny Guinn said today the proposed $32 million state mental hospital in Southern Nevada will not be placed in Jean, where a state prison is located.
Guinn said he has not made a decision yet whether to go forward with construction of the hospital on the grounds in Las Vegas where the present mental health facilities are located.
But he said Jean "is out of the question." He said it's too far out of town for police and others to drive to check in patients. There have been suggestions from some members of the public that the hospital be built in Jean.
Guinn agreed with Carlos Brandenburg, director of the state Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services, that if the hospital's location is moved, that it would have to return to the 2005 Legislature for further approvals.
The hospital was designed to be placed on the state mental health complex at Jones and Oakey boulevards but there has been stiff opposition from neighbors.
The Las Vegas City Council did not take any action on the issue this week, allowing the state to go ahead with its plans for the site. But Guinn said he wants to gather more information before making a final decision.
But he said there was a "critical need" in Southern Nevada for the new hospital.
Brandenburg said his testimony at the 2003 Legislature was "very clear" that the hospital would be located at the Oakey-Jones site where the present hospital is operating.
Brandenburg said the hospital was designed to use the existing culinary services at Jones-Oakey. He said switching it to another location would mean more money would be needed to build in a culinary facility. And it will cost more to operate since culinary staff will be needed at any location away from Jones-Oakey.
In addition, there is no money appropriated to buy any property for a new site, Brandenburg and Guinn said.
That would have to come from the 2005 Legislature, he said.