Bernards, a general contracting and construction management firm, is currently leading the Design-Build team constructing the Mark Ridley-Thomas Behavioral Health Center in Willowbrook, CA for the County of Los Angeles.
As one of the first facilities of its kind, the 500,000-sq.-ft. Behavioral Health Center will integrate inpatient, outpatient and supportive services for some of the area’s most vulnerable and underserved populations.

In collaboration with HOK Architects, Bernards is transforming the former King/Drew Medical Center hospital, which ceased operations in 2007, into a half-million SF healing and rehabilitative center that will provide general urgent and primary care, mental health outpatient and urgent care, psychiatric health and substance use disorder treatment, mental health rehabilitation and crisis residential programs. The warm, home-like setting will make clients and residents feel nurtured and cared for in an atmosphere of healing and comfort. Departments of Probation, Workforce Development, Aging, and Community Services will provide rehabilitative, vocational, and training opportunities to facilitate reintegration into society, and foster long-term community wellness.

2020 - 2021
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Championed by Los Angeles County Second District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the new Behavioral Health Center will house clinical and behavioral staff to provide mental and public health services, as well as workforce, diversion and reentry services. The Mark Ridley-Thomas Behavioral Health Center will help bridge the gap between mental health services and corrections. Providing this underserved population with much needed behavioral health resources allows for care and rehabilitation services to be provided when needed, helping to break the cycle and eliminate corrections from the equation.  

“When the old hospital shut its doors, few could have imagined this building would have a meaningful second act,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “And yet, we are moving forward with a vision of renewal, transformation, and innovation. When this building reopens, it will provide so many people with much needed healing, hope, and the promise of a better future.”

Rising five stories above grade with one basement level, the project upgrades various building systems, provides exterior façade and site improvements, refreshes the building and entrance canopy and repurposes the building’s rooftop and courtyards for recreational use. The design and programming of the healthcare facility extends beyond improving the lives of patients to also address community health by providing a peer resource center and conference rooms that can be utilized by local organizations.

“It’s wonderful for all of us on the Bernards-HOK design build team to have the opportunity to use what we do every day as contractors, designers, architects, and engineers, to build something that will immediately have a positive impact in Los Angeles County,” said Mike Funderberg, Vice President at Bernards. “The new Mark Ridley-Thomas Behavioral Health Center is a strong commitment by the County of Los Angeles to address the needs of our community relative to Mental Health Services by providing these services in such a centralized location. Our team is very proud to design and build such a project that will provide the right care in the right way at the right time to avert mental health crisis, and continue the hard work of ensuring that everyone in LA County can be part of our vibrant community in a meaningful way.”

By preserving the existing structure of the original building, the design reduces demolition and construction costs, as well as the amount of embodied carbon associated with new construction. The upgrade of the LEED-Silver targeted building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems; along with the usage of the existing chilled water cooling system, increased energy and water-use efficiency. Solar energy generated onsite powers the center.

“HOK understands the critical need to provide access to behavioral health treatment in an outpatient and residential setting to promote recovery success,” said Hunvey Chen, Regional Leader of Healthcare at HOK. “The Mark Ridley-Thomas Behavioral Health Center will provide a safe, home-like environment for integrated County services. As neighbors in the community, we are thrilled to team with Los Angeles County, Bernards and the entire design-build team on the reuse of this healthcare facility to expand the continuum of care.”

Construction site mobilization on the project began in January 2020. Phase I of the project is scheduled to be completed in October 2020, with completion of Phase II scheduled for June 2021.

Thanks for Building!
Alliant would like to say #thanksforbuilding to Bernards, a nationally-ranked, employee-owned multidisciplinary commercial builder and construction management company delivering technical expertise and outstanding construction services to developers, corporations, educational institutions and public agencies. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Bernards also has four regional offices throughout California and employs more than 360 professionals.

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