Are there plans to partially reuse any portion of the hospital for the new hospital? No.
Will the existing hospital be completely demolished?
Yes. The original building and all of its additions, including the enclosed elevated glass walkway to the parking ramp, will be replaced with a new hospital. The case has been made by Fairview+Acadia team that the existing building layout, floor to floor heights, energy performance, air handling, size and overall condition make the current structure obsolete in meeting the needs of a new modern mental health facility. The specific privacy, safety and program requirements, in addition to the levels of energy and sustainability performance desired, make a new hospital building the only way that this array of behavioral health services could be made possible at this site. The Fairview+Acadia team outlines these positions in an Adaptive Reuse Evaluation
and a memo addressing overall site land use mix
. CAAPB Advisor Michael Bjornberg studied these issues closely and agrees in his Advisor’s Site and Building Summary
with Fairview+Acadia’s conclusion that, given the owner’s vision to provide modern inpatient mental health care at the site, anew hospital structure is the only practical path forward.
What kind of hospital is being proposed?
A Behavioral Health Hospital with 144 beds. The old Bethesda Hospital contained over ~355 beds. See the comparison chart
. Acadia is a national behavioral health services provider partnering with Fairview and will be majority partner in ownership with Fairview. Employees of the hospital will be Acadia employees.
The Fairview+Acadia Team shared the following: "Fairview Health Services is partnering with Acadia Healthcare, a national leader in mental health and addiction care, to build a new inpatient mental health hospital that will improve our ability to meet the region’s growing mental health needs. Acadia is an experienced, best-in-class partner who will help us continue to evolve and expand the care we deliver.
The new hospital will be built to operate 144 inpatient beds for mental health and substance abuse disorder diagnoses. At least 120 beds in five units for adult and geriatric patients will provide specialized care for a range of needs, including people with more than one overlapping mental health diagnosis, those with mood and thought disorders, and those needing general psychiatry care. The building will be designed to accommodate future lateral expansion of 24-48 additional beds, based on capacity and patient needs, for a future total of 168-198 beds. Plans also include step-down levels of care as well as partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs.
The new state-of-the-art building will allow our teams to deliver the latest innovations in care in a specialized, calming, and therapeutic environment. This new space, designed uniquely for patients receiving treatment for mental illness, will support better outcomes and promote the highest level of safety for staff and patients."
Will the private green space be protected?
Yes, the private green space, often called the therapeutic garden or healing garden, is unaffected by this project. And, due to the permitting requirements in the Central Corridor Overlay district of the Capitol Area, the greenspace square footage (because it is publicly accessible) contributed to achieving the minimum requirements for building density/intensity ratios of the project (see Site Plan sheet B-2
). In the future, if the greenspace were to be closed to the public, the hospital would fall out of conformance with Capitol Area zoning rules, and so a Variance to the Rules for Zoning and Design would be required for a new use (other than green space) to be considered and permitted by CAAPB.
The only other ways for the green space to be protected in perpetuity are through a re-zoning, a voluntary easement, other voluntary development agreement or condition within a future project, public purchase, or other formalized dedication or agreement such as a POPS (privately owned public space) approach. Until that time, the private open space is and will remain zoned MX (Mixed Use), so is not an officially dedicated or protected open space in perpetuity.
Is the building or site designated as historically significant?
No, it is not designated at a local, state, or national level. The building was identified in the 1980’s as having potential for historic designation, but no further study or nomination were pursued. A renewed look at the entirety of Capitol Area for historic resources will be complete soon and could lead to Bethesda again being identified as having potential for historic designation, however that will not be completed before the start of this project. The owners Fairview+Acadia have formally expressed their intention not to pursue designation of any kind. See Advisor’s Site and Building Summary
for more information on this subject.
Can the site be reused for housing in any way?
Fairview+Acadia recognizes the ongoing demand in the community for new housing options in the region, but a housing element has not been introduced because it is incompatible with Fairview+Acadia’s stated purpose to renew the site as a purpose-built health care facility meeting the significant need for behavioral health services in the community. Incorporating housing is also incompatible with the vision to expand the hospital by 45 beds in a future phase, and to conserve the existing green space for enjoyment of the community and the families, staff and patients of the new hospital. Please read the memo from Fairview addressing this question.
Will the architectural elements of the existing building be salvaged or reused?
Acadia and Fairview have committed to work with their demolition contractor to salvage select portions of the existing hospital if possible – e.g. – brick, stone, and stone detailing – for potential reuse as accent elements at 5-6 seating areas / bench locations along Park Street and Como Avenue. Please see the memo by the project lead Architect
addressing this question.