Gov. Steve Beshear's chief of staff told Lexington-area mental health advocates on Thursday night that the new $129 million Eastern State Hospital will be funded under both House and Senate versions of the state's budget bill.
As of Thursday night, the state budget was still making its way through the legislature.
Adam Edelen, Beshear's chief of staff, told the crowd gathered for the National Alliance on Mental Illness banquet in Lexington that after Friday, when the budget is expected to be passed, "our next order of business is going to be scheduling the dedication and the groundbreaking of the new Eastern State Hospital."
Last fall, state, city and university leaders unveiled architectural plans for the facility, which was then scheduled to open in 2012.
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Under a land swap, the 300,000-square-foot facility would be built at the University of Kentucky Coldstream Research Campus off Newtown Pike near Interstates 64/75. The current Eastern State mental hospital site, off Newtown Pike closer to downtown, would become the site for a new campus for the Bluegrass Community and Technical college system. Work on the college is expected to begin in 2011.