Calcasieu Oaks to build 30,000-square-foot facility

By By Eric Cormier / American Press

Officials with a Florida-based health care company said that Calcasieu Oaks will be moving to a new location in the fourth

quarter of 2013.

Calcasieu Oaks, 2837 Ernest St., which serves patients with mental illnesses, is operated by Frontier Hospitals of Deerfield,

Fla.

Company CEO James Stanger told the American Press Monday that 5.2 acres of land has been bought near Fifth Avenue and Power

Centre Drive where a 30,000-square-foot facility will be built.

He explained that the new building will have room for 30 beds, although the company is licensed for 24.

Stanger said Calcasieu Oaks will remain the name of the facility.

“We lease space on Ernest Street and the facility has been there 17 years. Instead of leasing, we decided to build our own

building,” Stanger said.

Two years ago, Frontier Hospitals took over operations of the mental health facility, which used to be managed by South Cameron

Memorial Hospital. Frontier is tied to South Cameron Memorial Hospital through a provider’s license.

Stanger explained that the new building will not be able to increase bed space, otherwise it would lose rural hospital status

and potential funding.

“When our company took over, the hospital was in severe financial distress. We are a turnaround specialist and made a profit

the first year,” he said.

Architects are designing the new hospital and no estimate has been released regarding construction costs. Company officials

plan to break ground in the first quarter of this year.

Stanger said need for a new mental health facility and improved economic conditions in Southwest Louisiana make the capital

investment worthwhile.

“Our company has been keeping an eye on the Lake Charles area. Initially, we were trying to do something with the state with

beds for mental health patients due to cuts at Moss Regional Hospital,” he said. “We were interested in building on Nelson

Road but dollar wise it didn’t work out.”

Stanger said the new facility will be an asset, especially since he thinks an “expansion” of the numbers of people with mental

health issues is occurring.

“And that is why we want do more out-patient services. The idea is to try and provide service that will be beneficial to the

community and have a building that is aesthetically pleasing while providing enough staff to get the job done.”