The state-of-the-art Behavioral Medicine Center (BMC), which is a dual-use Safe Room, opened today on the campus of Abbeville General. The project began in the fall of 2016 and has produced a building that is 12,517 square feet and multi-functional. In its non-emergent use, the facility will serve as a 16-bed in-patient psychiatric unit. There is also an exterior covered space and connecting corridor/vestibule which was built with separate funds to tie in the building to the current hospital structure. This will protect both patients and staff from environmental elements. In the event of a parish emergency, the BMC will convert into a near-absolute life safety barrier and house all essential hospital services personnel and all first responders who will be needed in the community when the event is over. The safe room is able to withstand 180 mile per hour winds and is on a 500 year flood elevation. The safe room was built in accordance with FEMA P-361, Safe Rooms for Tornados and Hurricanes: Guidance for Community and Residential Safe Rooms, Third Edition (2015).
The total cost of the BMC/Safe Room is $ 6,488,546. The breakdown of funding is as follows:
$ 3,763,356 has been federally funded through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program under FEMA- 1786-DR-LA.
$ 2,725,190 will be funded by the Hospital Service District No. 2 Sales Tax.