Hampstead Hospital went through a rocky transition following the state taking ownership of the once privately owned psychiatric facility ahead of plans to open a youth detention center on its campus in 2025.
State and local officials worked to address concerns after the hospital and residential treatment center saw an uptick of police presence responding to calls connected to juvenile patients at Hampstead.
The state purchased Hampstead Hospital in June 2022.
In a year’s span, Hampstead police had responded to over 60 calls for runaway patients, assaults and sexual assault.
The level of care the juveniles need at Hampstead Hospital has increased over the last year as the population served by the hospital has changed since the state took over ownership.
Morissa Henn, associate commissioner at New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, said changes in the patient population at the hospital may have been tied to the increase in emergency calls.
The state made upgrades to the hospital in response. More doors are secured, windows thickened and fencing brought in to provide a safe place for youths — with a tendency to flee — to be able to spend time outside.
Concerns lingered about the impact on Hampstead Police Department and its staff when the youth detention center opens and when the hospital is at full capacity.
Central School project funded
The Hampstead School District found a way to fund a long-sought Central School addition project after it was struck down by voters for the ninth consecutive time in March.
In the most recent pitch for voter support, the Hampstead School District and School Board narrowed the project’s focus and lowered the overall price tag to $7.5 million.
The district had money available this year to make the addition a reality and address classroom capacity at Hampstead Central.
School Board Chairman David Smith previously said he’s ready to move on the project to construct more classrooms at the elementary school.
“We have the funds and a plan,” Smith said. “Almost all the classrooms over there are at capacity due to our policy. If we don’t do something, we are going to be at capacity with the state.”