Sarasota Memorial’s New Cornell Behavioral Health Pavilion opens

Patients begin moving into facility on Dec. 5

This is the new Cornell Behavioral Health Pavilion. Photo courtesy Sarasota Memorial Hospital

On Dec. 5, Sarasota Memorial Hospital announced that its behavioral health team, along with approximately 50 patients in the team’s care, were moving into the new, state-of-the-art Cornell Behavioral Health Pavilion, which was “designed from the ground up to provide the latest in mental health care.”

“The older psychiatric facility that has served a vital safety-net role for more than 50 years” officially closed on Dec. 5, a news release noted.

With its large, gleaming windows and contemporary design,” the new Behavioral Health Pavilion “has been a welcome sight to many who have witnessed the spacious, 3-story facility taking shape from time-worn quarters in the hospital’s old Bayside Center for Behavioral Health across the street,” the news release added.

“This is an incredible milestone, not just for Sarasota Memorial, but for our entire community,” said David Verinder, CEO of Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, in the release. “The pavilion will be a life-changing destination for those struggling with mental health challenges,” he added in the release.

“Last week, hundreds of community members, mental health advocates and local officials stopped in for a sneak peek of the $74 million pavilion, participating in a week of grand opening celebrations that included a ribbon-cutting, donor recognition and tours of its innovative treatment areas and therapeutic design,” the release continued.

“The pavilion is named after Brian and Martha Cornell, in recognition of their $10 million donation to support the creation of the new facility,” the release noted. Brian, the chair and CEO of Target Corp., “and Martha participated in a recent opening event, where they described the vision and ambition behind their gift,” the release added.

“At the end of the day, our deepest hope is that this facility not only changes lives in Florida, which it certainly will,” said Brian. “But it also helps eliminate the stigma around mental health, and serves as a blueprint, inspiring others to support similar projects all across America.”

“We are so grateful to have played a part in creating such a stunning, welcoming space, which is filled with so many amazing, caring people who will change lives for many years to come,” Martha added.

Located on Sarasota Memorial’s Sarasota campus, “the Cornell Behavioral Health Pavilion was designed using best practices and innovative design elements to provide a warm, welcoming environment where people of all ages can be comfortable seeking treatment for a range of behavioral health issues, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental health disorders,” the release explained.

“The pavilion offers a complete continuum of care, from intensive outpatient counseling and partial hospitalization to inpatient admissions and crisis stabilization. The behavioral health team also supports a 24/7 assessment center staffed around the clock by licensed therapists who not only help people through a crisis, but also help them navigate the many questions and complexities surrounding mental health conditions and care,” the release pointed out.

“Sarasota Memorial’s behavioral health team is trained in trauma-informed care,” the release added. It includes board-certified psychiatrists and about 150 mental health nurses, therapists, social workers, behavioral health technicians and support staff,” the release said. “SMH hired about 50 new clinicians this year to expand and enhance care in the new facility.

“The first floor houses a comprehensive array of outpatient programs, including a partial hospitalization program that provides 20 hours a week of therapy and serves as a ‘step down’ program to help people transition to a home environment after hospitalization, or prevent a hospitalization altogether,” the release continued. Among other services are “intensive outpatient programs for youth, adults and older adults, and advanced procedures, including neurostimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation,” the release said.

“The pavilion’s two upper floors are dedicated to hospitalized patients. The inpatient areas are separated into four ‘neighborhood pods,’ each designed to meet the needs of specific populations,” the release pointed out: a 16-bed geriatric unit for older or frail adults; a 22-bed child and adolescent unit; a 24-bed adult unit; and a 20-bed acute care unit.

“In addition to private rooms with piped music, flat-screen TVs, mood lighting and large, sunlit windows, each pod has individual and group therapy areas for patients to work through different levels of care,” the release noted. “They also have dining and visitation areas, screened patios, a gym with a basketball court, stationary bikes, yoga and fitness equipment, and sensory rooms where patients can recline in a cushioned chair, covered by a weighted blanket and relax with aromatherapy, meditation and other activities to help regulate emotions,” the release continued.

Sarasota Memorial is the only hospital in Sarasota that provides behavioral health services to patients of all ages, from children to seniors, the release pointed out.

1 thought on “Sarasota Memorial’s New Cornell Behavioral Health Pavilion opens”

  1. Sarasota Memorial’s Ken Alexander,(retired Adm. Of Bayside Center) should be recognized as a leader in the Behavioral Health efforts of this excellent institution.

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