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County to consolidate mental health under one roof

Former Topper Pontiac to replace Saratoga Hospital offices

The former Topper Pontiac building, at 135 South Broadway, will house the Cramer Facility, which is a state Office of Mental Health-licensed facility.

The former Topper Pontiac building, at 135 South Broadway, will house the Cramer Facility, which is a state Office of Mental Health-licensed facility. Photo by Marci Revette.

— Saratoga County Mental Health programming will soon be moving into a new home in Saratoga Springs.

The move comes after notification from Saratoga Hospital that the main facility, Cramer House, which operates in the hospital, will need to leave when the lease is up. The lease is set to expire in March of 2013.

Hans Lehr, the director of the Mental Health Department, informed the Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Saratoga County Supervisors in April that the lease would not be renewed due to a planned expansion at the hospital.

“They are following the lease agreement, which gives them that right,” said Lehr.

The eviction notice was not a surprise to county supervisors. Both the Buildings and Grounds Committee and the Public Health Committee have been aware for the past two years of the possibility that the lease would not be renewed at Saratoga Hospital, according to Ballston Supervisor Patti Southworth.

A search by Saratoga Springs supervisors Joanne Yepsen and Matthew Veitch for a new facility began following news of the notice. The only stipulation was the location should be within the city limits of Saratoga Springs, according to Lehr.

The committee initially looked at three locations, but the old Topper Pontiac building, at 135 South Broadway, was deemed the best because of timeline and price.

The Topper facility will at first house the Cramer Facility, which is a state Office of Mental Health-licensed facility. Eventually, all three facilities operated by Saratoga County Mental Health will be located under one roof.

Besides Cramer House, the county runs a drug and alcohol program, which is across the street from Cramer House, and the Friendship House, which is a mental health day treatment program on Geyser Road in the Town of Milton. The Friendship House has a lease that expires in 2014. It is anticipated they would move to the new facility at that time.

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