Health center to open with community support

Candy Neal/The Herald
Crossroads Behavioral Health is located in part of the former St. Joseph's Hospital building in Huntingburg.

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — Crossroads Behavioral Health will start taking patients Monday.

The geriatric behavioral health facility is in part of the former St. Joseph’s Hospital building in Huntingburg. A kickoff ceremony and open house were held at the facility, located at 1900 Medical Arts Drive, Wednesday afternoon.

“We will start accepting patients Monday morning, on May 20th,” Shana Weyer, admissions manager for the facility, said Tuesday. “So we’re moving right along.”

Weyer, facility Administrator Beth Mehringer and other staff, including floor nurses, were on hand at Wednesday’s open house to meet people and show them the facility.

It will open with 16 beds, which are on the second floor. Rooms will house two patients. A dining area, nurses station and activities room are also on the floor, as well as storage space, medical offices and a conference room and break room for the staff.

The first floor has the reception area and office space, with other space available to develop another wing that will eventually have 24 beds. Those plans have not yet been formalized.

“There are no specific plans set in stone,” Weyer said. “But it’s something that the owners have been looking at, and other medical professionals and psychiatrists have been reaching out to us about, to utilize those areas.”

St. Joseph’s closed in 2007. Since then, parts of the facility were considered for various uses. In 2014, developer Miller-Valentine Group purchased some of the property from owner Huntingburg Partners and developed The Lofts at St. Joseph’s, which has 45 apartments for seniors. The Lofts opened in August 2016.

In April 2018, plans were confirmed for Crossroads Behavioral Health, which was done under Huntingburg Partners. Assurance Health of Indianapolis, which is part of Healthcare Services Management, worked with Huntingburg Partners to construct the facility. The Joint Commission, which makes sure that facilities are up to hospital standards, has approved Crossroads, which allows the facility to open for services.

“Huntingburg Partners have been true partners with Huntingburg in the redevelopment of this property, which has been a priority of our city,” Huntingburg Mayor Denny Spinner said Wednesday. “It started with the Lofts [at St. Joseph’s] and the partnership with Miller-Valentine, and continued through the securing of financing necessary to be here today to open Crossroads Behavioral Health.”

Shazia Mahmood, owner of Huntingburg Partners, thanked the community for welcoming the facility. She explained that the last year has been hard on the family with the unexpected death of her daughter, Sophia Mahmood Ali.

“It’s a very emotional day for us,” she said, “but it is a blessed day. There is a reason we are here. We all have a purpose.”

As part of the ceremony, daughter Emaan Mahmood announced that the Sophia Mahmood Foundation has been created. The goal is to do positive activities to help the environment, which was a passion of Sophia’s, Emaan said.

One project under the foundation is Gulae’s Garden, through which trees are being planted in different countries. As part of that, a tree was planted in front of Crossroads. Gulae, which comes from the Persian word “gul” meaning “rose,” was the name Sophia’s family called her.

St. Mary’s Parish in Huntingburg will take the St. Joseph statue that is in front of the hospital and move it to the church. It will be installed there and its history displayed, said Father Ryan Hilderbrand, pastor at the parish.

Shazia said that just like her family, the people who get care at Crossroads and their families are facing difficulties. And having what used to be the community’s hospital be empty for so long is upsetting as well. Those are the reasons why the Mahmoods felt compelled to create Crossroads, Shazia said.

“Healing,” she said. “That is what we want to bring. That is what is needed in the community.”

Spinner thanked the Mahmoods for their dedication. “You believed in this project,” he said. “You are Huntingburg’s partners.”




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