Construction to replace the century-old Waterford Hospital could begin as early as next year. As was recommended by the All Party Committee on Mental Health, a new psychiatric hospital will be on the campus of the Health Sciences Centre in St. John’s.

A conceptual plan released by government today will see the new mental health facility built on the current site of the hostel at the HSC. The hostel will be demolished and replaced by a brand new 15,000 sq. foot facility dedicated solely to those battling mental health and addictions. It will house 94 beds.

The plan is dramatically different than that proposed by the Tories in 2014. The Liberal plan takes a more community-based approach that will reduce acute care beds in St. John’s, but see beds added throughout other areas of the province.

The new build is pegged at $200-million, though it’s possible it could be built through a public-private partnership. Just $6.1-million has been set aside in this year’s budget to complete a detailed engineering plan for the new mental health hospital.

It’s likely a new psychiatric hospital wouldn’t open until 2023.