WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Excitement is infectious from the staff at the North Texas State Hospital Wichita Falls campus as construction is set to begin next summer on its $452 million replacement.

The new hospital was approved by the 2023 Texas legislature.

It will have 200 beds, including 24 maximum security, 136 forensic non-maximum security, 24 adolescent, and 16 civil.

Superintendent Albert Ragland said once patients simply move over to the new hospital, they’ll have their own state-of-the-art therapeutic space in a secure environment.

“One of the things that the new building is going to provide for us is it is going to give patients their own solo space,” Ragaland explained. “So whenever a patient comes in, they’ll have their own bed area, they’ll have their own bathroom, they’ll have privacy that they normally don’t get to have in one of our facilities. Right now, we have areas where we may sleep six patients and they all share a common bathroom area.”

Ragland said the current facility will remain operational while construction is ongoing.

And, he said, staff levels should remain the same, however, that’s under review.

As far as security goes, the maximum-security unit will have additional measures in place to ensure the safety of patients, staff and the community.

It will also have much more therapeutic lighting.

“There’s going to be a lot of patient spaces that’s going to have skylights wherever they go,” Ragland continued. “And then there’s going to be a lot of courtyards where they can actually go outside within the area of the hospital that will allow them to get [the] outside time that they may not get as much with the way our current construction is.”

The North Texas State Hospital was first created in 1917 and received patients from 62 counties in northwest Texas.

Construction on the new hospital is expected to be completed in the fall of 2027.