Wagoner succeeds in adding Skagit County Stabilization Center funds to Senate’s proposed construction budge

After inflation-driven increases in construction costs resulted in cancellation of one behavioral-health center in the North Sound, Sen. Keith Wagoner is determined not to let a second such project meet a similar fate.

Working with Senate budget writers, Wagoner has secured the $4.275 million needed to complete phase II of the Skagit County Stabilization Center in the Senate’s proposed supplemental capital budget.

“This is great news,” said Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley and a member of the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee. “This project is a key need for our community. Last year I was able to get $12.7 million in the capital budget for the completion of phase II of the Skagit County Stabilization Center. Unfortunately, inflation and other factors have increased the cost of the project, and additional funds are needed to complete construction. The same issue killed a similar project at Evergreen Health. We cannot allow the same thing to happen again here.”

Evergreen Health in Monroe was unable to use a $4.275 allotment from the 2022 supplemental budget, which was intended for a new behavioral-health wing. The project was canceled due to cost increases similar to those endangering phase II of the Skagit Behavioral Health Center.

Wagoner convinced Senate budget writers to reallocate the funds from the canceled Evergreen Health project toward completion of the Skagit Behavioral Health Center.

“As we deal with a host of issues from public safety to homelessness to drug abuse, completion of this facility will go a long way toward creating a comprehensive, integrated system of behavioral health services across the northern Puget sound region,” said Wagoner.

“By repurposing these funds within the same district, what would have been two failed behavioral-health projects in the North Sound District becomes a win that meets the critical needs for our region.”

Phase I of the project, the North Sound Treatment and Evaluation Center in Sedro-Woolley, was completed in 2022 and is already fully operational and providing 16 beds for mental-health services. It treats adults with acute psychiatric symptoms, providing 24-hour support, with reintegration of patients into communities or transition to other community-based programs.

Phase II of the project will add 16 stabilization beds, as well as 32 treatment/detox beds.

“This funding will be critical to helping people in need,” said Wagoner. “This is a benefit to those individuals, as well as a vital step to improving public safety.”

The state capital budget provides for the acquisition, construction, and maintenance of capital assets across Washington – such as schools and projects with recreational and economic-development value.

In addition to the support for behavioral health, the Senate’s proposed supplemental capital budget includes $121.5 million for construction and maintenance for K-12 schools and $119 million in housing-related funding.

“I am pleased that the 39th District has seen some of its tax dollars come back from Olympia as support for key projects in our community,” added Wagoner, pointing to $200,000 for the Skagit PUD Olsen Creek Waterline Relocation and $860,000 for fish-barrier improvements on Carpenter and English creeks and the Pilchuck Tributary Watt Crossing. The budget plan also includes $100,000 for the design of a new municipal campus in Lake Stevens to consolidate services at a single location.