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New $160M Hawaiʻi State Hospital psychiatric facility in Kāneʻohe remains empty

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HONOLULU — Sloping showers, staff training and door fixtures that could pose a risk for suicidal patients are among the issues keeping a $160-million Hawaiʻi psychiatric facility empty nearly a year after construction was completed.

Officials announced in May that construction of the 144-bed forensic facility at the Hawaiʻi State Hospital in Kāneʻohe was complete. They planned a summer opening before issues were identified.

Repairs could take several months before patients are allowed to move in, and it could take up to two years before the state can admit new patients.

“I really can't give a firm timeline,” said Run Heidelberg, hospital administrator. “During our walk-through we did find some issues that we need to correct.”

Heidelberg said they're waiting for parts to correct issues such as sloping showers, which cause water to leak on floors, and door fixtures that could be dangerous for suicidal patients.

Some safety policies have yet to be written, Heidelberg said.

“There are some training issues that we need to get through because there's a lot of new technology in the building,” Heidelberg said.

Some say the delay is disappointing because there's a shortage of psychiatric beds.

"A lot of people are just kind of floundering and getting worse,” said Dr. Chad Koyanagi, a community psychiatrist.

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