Make us your home page

Morton Plant selects Pasco location for long-term psychiatric facility for children and teens

LAND O'LAKES — Children and teens needing long-term psychiatric care will no longer have to be sent outside Pasco for treatment.

Morton Plant North Bay Hospital announced it will open a 10-bed in-patient facility for children and youth ages 5 to 17 at a 45,000-square-foot building on State Road 54 that now houses Gulf and Lake Academy, a state program for non-violent juvenile offenders.

"As you can imagine, having a child who needs this type of treatment is hard," said Beth Hardy, spokeswoman for Morton Plant. "But having to travel puts an extra burden on parents."

Hardy said the closest facility for children needing hospital-based mental health care is at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, although shorter-term care is offered locally.

The hospital plans to renovate the State Road 54 facility with the goal to open it by spring or summer of 2010.

Hardy said some jobs might be created but had no specific information.

The hospital plans to use services and infrastructure already available within Morton Plant North Bay Hospital's main campus operations as well as the clinical expertise and resources of BayCare Health System and BayCare Behavioral Health, which also operates Harbor Behavioral Health, she said.

The move to open the children's hospital follows a circuitous route that started in 2008. The original application for the Morton Plant North Bay Psychiatric Facility called for 70 beds, with 60 for adults and 10 child/adolescent inpatient psychiatric beds.

However, the state denied the application and approved a competing plan, which did not specify any plans for children's beds. North Bay then challenged the state agency's earlier denial of its application.

North Bay also was contesting the state's related decision to approve a rival plan by Ten Broeck Tampa to build a 40-bed psychiatric and substance abuse hospital for adults near Bruce B. Downs Boulevard in Pasco County.

As part of a settlement reached last year, North Bay agreed to drop those challenges in exchange for permission to build the children's hospital. That paved the way for Ten Broeck, an affiliate of privately held United Medical Corp. of Windermere, to pursue its plans.

Gulf and Lake Academy, which serves 46 girls and 45 boys ranging from 12 to 18 years old, will move to two new locations, said Kerry Knott, chief executive officer of G4S Youth Services LLC, the parent company of Gulf and Lake. The Palm Beach firm acquired Gulf and Lake from Sunshine Youth Services in April. Knott wouldn't disclose where the new programs would be offered but said the staff would be offered jobs there or at other G4S facilities.

The facility on State Road 54 was a Charter hospital that closed in January 2000 when the last patients, several dozen female juvenile offenders, were transferred to a mental health center in Largo. It was reopened by two former Charter executives who said they quit the company because they were tired of closing hospitals. Several months later, the new company, called Sunshine Youth Services, got a contract with the state Department of Juvenile Justice to house 69 non-violent misdemeanor juvenile offenders ranging in age from 13 to 18 at its center, which includes a gymnasium, classrooms, an in-ground swimming pool and separate wings for boys and girls.

Lisa Buie can be reached at or (813) 909-4604.

Morton Plant selects Pasco location for long-term psychiatric facility for children and teens 08/07/09 [Last modified: Friday, August 7, 2009 6:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Study: Tampa Bay a top market for homebuyers on the move

    Real Estate

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, ATTOM Data Solutions says.

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, a survey found.
[Associated Press file photo]
  2. Ousted to political Siberia by Corcoran, Kathleen Peters sets sights on Pinellas Commission

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The perks of power in Tallahassee are a coveted chairmanship, a Capitol office in a prime location and a prominent seat on the House floor. Now Rep. Kathleen Peters has lost all three, but here's the twist: Her trip to "Siberia" might actually help her reach the next step on the Tampa Bay political …

    Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-South Pasadena, has been relegated to the back row in the State House chamber, moved to a fouth floor office and stripped of her job as chairwoman of a House subcommittee after a series of disagreements with House Speaker Richard Corcoran. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA


    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  4. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran wants the Constitu?tion Revision Commis?sion to ask voters to repeal the state’s system of partial financing of statewide elections.
  5. Related Group breaks ground on complex at old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — When Miami developer Jorge Perez first eyed a 4.2-acre tract on the west bank of the Hillsborough River two years ago, people asked him if he wouldn't prefer to build on the opposite side closer to the downtown core.

    No way.

    From left, Related Group executive associate Arturo Penaa, Jorge Perez, center, founder and CEO of the Related Group, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Steve Patterson, the President of Related Development dig their shovels  during the groundbreaking ceremony of the 400 unit Riverwalk Manor apartment complex on site of the old Tampa Tribune building on Wednesday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]