For Immediate release – August 16, 2012


New state-of-the-art mental health facility is revolutionary in design, state’s largest non-transportation construction project in history

Worcester Recovery Center
Governor Patrick, Lieutenant Governor Murray, Secretary Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, Secretary Jay Gonzalez and others celebrate the opening of the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital. (Photo Credit: Eric Haynes / Governor’s Office) View additional photos. 

WORCESTER – Thursday, August 16, 2012 – Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray officially opened the Department of Mental Health (DMH) Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital (WRCH) today, joining hundreds of stakeholders in the mental health community to celebrate a milestone in public psychiatric care and treatment in the Commonwealth. The $302 million, 428,000 square-foot WRCH is built on the grounds of the former Worcester State Hospital and is comprised of 320 residential beds.

“The new state-of-the-art Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital marks an important shift in how we deliver mental health services. WRCH’s innovative and revolutionary design continues our commitment to ensure that all residents have access to quality, affordable health care,” said Governor Patrick. “I am proud of our investment in this facility and know that it will serve the patients and families of our Commonwealth for generations to come.”

“The Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital is a major achievement for the Commonwealth and most importantly the adults, adolescents and families who face the challenges of mental illness every day,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “The community relies on us for service, and this new undertaking represents our commitment to bringing state-of-the-art mental health care to those most in need. As the largest non-transportation construction project we have undertaken in more than 50 years, today we join many partners and hundreds of stakeholders to celebrate the history of this site, the renewed architecture to support future service, and significant job creation this new facility will create for Worcester and the region.”

This is the first time since the 1950s that the Commonwealth has built a new psychiatric facility. The state-of-the-art design by Ellenzweig Associates of Cambridge is a national model that fosters recovery and rehabilitation. The facility will include a 260-bed adult hospital, a 30-bed adolescent inpatient facility and 30 adolescent intensive residential treatment beds. General obligation bonds provided through the Legislature and supported by the Patrick-Murray Administration provide the $302 million in capital funding for construction of WRCH. The project is managed by Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) and construction is managed by Gilbane, Inc.

“The features and design of the facility are truly impressive, particularly the way the Center’s design promotes physical and mental wellness,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. JudyAnn Bigby. “A healthy and safe environment makes a tremendous difference for individuals on the road to recovery, so they can successfully transition back to their communities.”

“The opening of the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital is a testament to the Patrick-Murray Administration’s commitment to investing in a better Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez. “This state-of-the-art facility supports a transformed, 21st century system for providing better mental health services to those who need them.”

DMH will close the current Worcester State Hospital and realign its 626 continuing care beds across its other facilities in the coming months as WRCH becomes fully operational in the next several months. Massachusetts has been a leader in caring for people with mental illness since it built the first public psychiatric hospital in the nation. In recent decades, advances in care and treatment for individuals with mental illness, together with partnering with consumers to sustain their recovery, have shaped DMH’s Community First initiative. Inpatient care is a critical component of Community First and now includes WRCH, a state-of-the-art therapeutic environment that will foster recovery and promote opportunities for patients to transition to independent living in the community.

“Today is the first day of the future of mental health care in Massachusetts and beyond,” said DMH Commissioner Marcia Fowler. “We are very proud of this historic accomplishment and I am particularly proud and grateful to the hundreds of staff, consumers and stakeholders who for the past seven years put their heart and soul into making the extraordinary Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital a place of healing and recovery for all those who will pass through there.”

“I am honored to join the Patrick-Murray Administration in opening the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital,” said Commissioner of the Division of Capital Asset Management Carole Cornelison. “The DCAM team worked tirelessly, in conjunction with our partners at Ellenszweig Associates and Gilbane, Inc., as well as DMH, to design and build a world-class facility that incorporates advanced design and energy efficiency measures that ensure best practices in facility maintenance and management.”

WRCH construction reflects Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and consists of a suite of rating systems for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, homes and neighborhoods. LEED is intended to provide building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. WRCH is a LEEDS-certified facility that will serve adults and adolescents with serious mental illness for generations to come.

“The opening of the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital reflects the Commonwealth’s ongoing work to providing modern-day services to those with mental health needs, both in an inpatient setting and throughout their recovery,” said Senator John F. Keenan, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse. “It is the result of more than a decade-long commitment made by the Department of Mental Health, members of the Legislature and the Worcester delegation, the Patrick-Murray Administration and so many other partners to make this project a reality and to set the standard for mental health care here in Massachusetts and across the country for years to come.”

“As a State Representative and individual who has always advocated for access and equity in mental health care, I am incredibly grateful and proud that this day has finally come,” said Representative James J. O’Day. “The opening of the new Worcester Recovery Center comes as a result the tremendous collaborative efforts between the City of Worcester, the legislature, Governor Deval Patrick, and various state agencies such as the Department of Mental Health. Through this collaboration, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will now be able to offer those living with mental illness state of the art treatment and care.”


Part of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, DMH provides services to adults, children and adolescents with long-term or serious mental illness and serious emotional disturbance; provides early and ongoing treatment for mental illness; and conducts research into the causes of and treatments for mental illness. Through state-operated inpatient facilities and community mental health centers and through community services and programs provided by nearly 200 mental health providers, DMH directly serves 21,000 citizens, including about 3,500 children and adolescents, with severe and persistent mental illness and serious emotional disturbance.


The Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) is the state agency responsible for major public building construction and real estate services for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The agency was created by the legislature in 1980 to promote quality and integrity in the Commonwealth’s building construction and real estate operations. DCAM manages hundreds of millions annually in capital construction projects and more than 500 active leases comprising 7 million square feet of privately-owned lease space housing state offices. DCAM is also responsible for assisting our client-agencies in maintaining state facilities using comprehensive and cost-effective maintenance and management strategies.


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Tim Murray

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Kim Haberlin
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