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A beam adorned with signatures from ECU Health team members, behavioral health care teams, leadership and the Thomas Construction team was raised into place at the site of the upcoming behavioral health hospital in Greenville.

The beam raising served as a backdrop for an event showcasing the construction progress of the new 144-bed behavioral health hospital, a partnership between ECU Health and Acadia Healthcare, slated to open in summer 2025. ECU Health and Thomas Construction team members paused their important work to witness the historic milestone.

Glenn Simpson, service line administrator for behavioral health at ECU Health, said this event was another historic step, celebrating about 15 years of work to bring a behavioral health hospital into the ECU Health system to serve eastern North Carolina.

“Today is only the beginning of so much excitement around this facility,” Simpson said. “We couldn’t be more excited to be partnered with Acadia Healthcare and working with Thomas Construction to build this facility. This is all allowing us to offer outpatient services, specialty services that we cannot provide today and we’ll be able to treat a population of children and adolescents who used to have to drive over 70 miles for inpatient treatment.”

Mary Branch-Ellis, a registered nurse with the behavioral health team at ECU Health Medical Center, has been with the system for 41 years. She said she was working at the former Pitt County Memorial Hospital years ago when the behavioral health unit first opened in the 1980s.

She said seeing the facility come together is something she will never forget and she’s glad eastern North Carolinians in need of the services will have everything under one roof.

“It’s just wonderful to be a part of this as someone who is invested in this work in eastern North Carolina,” Branch-Ellis said. “I’ve worked so many years in mental health and been an advocate for patients and now we’re seeing this state-of-the-art facility being built and it’s a wonderful experience to see these beds – which we need – opening up. I’m excited to see it coming to Greenville and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

ECU Health team members sign beam slated for upcoming behavioral health hospital

Samantha Nichols, a nurse on the behavioral health unit at ECU Health Medical Center, signs a beam that is slated to go inside of the upcoming behavioral health hospital in Greenville.

Recently, ECU Health team members had the opportunity to leave their mark on the upcoming state-of-the-art, 144-bed behavioral health hospital in Greenville, slated to open in 2025.

The Thomas Construction team brought a beam, which is slated to be installed in the hospital’s gymnasium, to ECU Health Medical Center for team members to sign. More than 100 team members signed the beam and many signatures will be visible in the gymnasium even after construction is complete.

Amy Albritton, a recreational therapy assistant in Behavioral Health Services, has been with the system for more than 25 years. She said it’s special for her to see the plans for the new hospital come together after her years on the unit.

“I think being able to see the beam and sign it helps make it a little more real,” Albritton said. “It’s been talked about for a while now but having this here that we can touch, it’s a really exciting time. I’m just glad to be a part of it.”

Glenn Simpson, service line administrator for behavioral health at ECU Health, said engaging team members in the lead up to the hospital opening is a great opportunity for education and building excitement.

“With building a brand-new hospital, it’s special to give our team members the opportunity to be part of the history of that by signing one of the beams,” Simpson said. “When they’re finished with the gymnasium part of the structure, they’ll be hoisting the beam into the framework. This is great for team members to sign the beam and know that their name will forever be a part of that hospital.”

Renderings of the upcoming hospital were also on display during the beam signing to allow team members to see the plans again. The beam was in the hospital for about a week before being returned to the construction site.