The University of Kansas Health System has acquired the former Environmental Protection Agency building at 901 N. Fifth Street in downtown Kansas City, Kansas. The health system says it will house a state-of-the-art mental and behavioral health facility, as well as administrative functions. Terms of the sale were not disclosed. “Kansas City, Kansas, has been our home for more than 100 years,” notes Chris Ruder, vice president, patient care services and associate chief nursing officer of The University of Kansas Health System. “We have invested more than $750 million in Wyandotte County throughout the past couple decades, which has allowed us to expand healthcare in our community. This expansion in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, provides the space we need to increase mental and behavioral health services in a full-scale facility for people who need this care in our community, the region and the state.” Ruder says renovation work on the building, which has been vacant for five years, will take approximately one year. The total project cost is $61 million. The overall building area is 220,000 square feet, with 112,000 square feet dedicated to the health care area. The new facility will house a short term (4 to 6 days) inpatient adult mental and behavioral health unit with 47 beds. It will consolidate inpatient services currently provided at the 39th and Rainbow main campus, and at the Prairie Ridge campus in Kansas City, Kansas. There are an estimated 94,478 cases of untreated serious mental and behavioral health illness, including major depression, bipolar disorders and anxiety disorder, in the Kansas City region. “There is a demand for short term psychological help in a traditional inpatient setting in our region,” says Ruder. “This initiative supports our efforts to provide even more advanced care to those who need it most, and our commitment to continue to grow in Wyandotte County.” The health system will provide additional information as development continues, and is working with civic and community groups as part of its ongoing partnership with Wyandotte County and its communities.