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UW Medical Center starts construction on Behavioral Health Teaching Facility

Healthcare Facilities

UW Medical Center starts construction on Behavioral Health Teaching Facility

Will add much-needed patient bed capacity for Seattle.

October 21, 2021
The six-story Behavioral Health Teaching Facility on University of Washington's Northwest campus. Image: SRG Partnership
The 184,000-sf Behavioral Health Teaching Facility is being built adjacent to the main hospital wing on the University of Washington Medical Center's Northwest campus. Image: SRG Partnership, courtesy of Clark|Abbott

On October 15, a joint venture comprised of the general contractors Clark Construction and JR Abbott Construction ceremonially broke ground for the new Behavioral Health Teaching Facility at the University of Washington’s Medical Center-Northwest campus in Seattle.

The six-story 184,000-sf facility, designed by SRG Partnership, is scheduled to open to residents in December 2023, according to the Seattle Times.  Funded through $234 million in state appropriation, the facility is being built adjacent to the campus’s main hospital wing.

According to the University, the new building will have a 150-bed capacity, with 75 long-term civil commitment beds, 25 geropsychiatric beds, and 50 licensed med-surgery beds with the capacity to treat patients with psychiatric diagnoses and/or substance use disorders. Its top three floors will feature highly flexible inpatient units designed to respond to client needs from highly structured programs to programs that promote independent functioning and a transition to the community.


The project team and the University are calling this building one of a kind, in that it will provide a fully integrated and welcoming healing environment for patients struggling with physical and behavioral health problems. The building will include a procedural area for electroconvulsive therapy, and neuromodulation where patients can be treated with brain simulation therapy.  

Also see: California University of Science and Medicine’s new School of Medicine

Brett Earnest, Clark’s Senior Vice President, says his firm has been working with the university for nearly two years to develop the facility, which when completed will serve as the home for the statewide 24/7 telepsychiatry consultation program and an interdisciplinary training and workforce development program focused on preparing and supporting the next generation of behavioral health providers for Washington State.

The Building Team is working under an Integrated Project Delivery contract. Its members include KPFF Consulting Engineers, Thornton Tomasetti, Ricca Design Studios, OJB Landscape Architecture, Mazzetti, PAE Engineers, McKinstry, VECA Electric, Schuff Steel, Performance Contracting Inc., and Queen City.


The Seattle Times reports that patients will have access to terraces and decks, sleep in secured private bedrooms, and meet with physicians and other staff in spacious treatment areas. Terracotta tiles will flank the building’s outer structure. Common spaces will feature calming muted colors. Outdoor benches will be crafted from reclaimed trees. The first floor of the building will house a public dining hall for staff and visitors.

Carl Hampson, SRG’s Design Principal, told the newspaper that choices for materials and fixtures were prioritized based on patient safety criteria.  The building’s design, created in collaboration with our clinical stakeholders, will promote healing and well-being, “reinforcing the connection between mind and body,” Hampson said. 

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