Former Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital
Former Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital

Former Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital

Former Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital

Scandals, suicides and sexual assault

Morristown (New Jersey), United States

Originally opened on August 17, 1876 for a cost of $146,000, the hospital was known as the New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum at Morristown. The asylum officially received the familiar Greystone Park name in 1924. Initial fees were $3.50 per week for a normal patient. For persons seeking private apartment-style living, the rent could be anywhere from $5.00 to $10.00 per week.

In just four years after Greystone opened, it was already accommodating around 800 patients in a facility designed for 600. By 1887, the exercise rooms and attic space were converted to dormitories to create extra rooms for the influx of new patients. In an attempt to relieve the further overcrowding, the Dormitory Building was built behind the Main Building in 1901. It, however, wasn't enough to alleviate the problem and thus in the same year the dining rooms on each floor had to be converted into dormitories as well. 13 years later, in 1914, the facility housed 2,412 patients, but now had an absolute maximum capacity of 1,600.

The original Second Empire Victorian style building was 62,589 m² (673,706 total square feet). At the base of this massive building was the alleged largest continuous foundation in the United States from the time it was built until it was surpassed by the Pentagon when it was constructed in 1943.

In 2000, Greystone was only a 550-bed facility when then Governor of New Jersey Christine Todd Whitman announced that the state was going to close the facility by 2003. The decision to close Greystone came about not only because of concerns for the aging buildings, but also due to the recent negative press it was receiving. Specifically, accounts of sexual assault in a hospital elevator, patients committing suicide, patients becoming pregnant, and a twice-convicted rapist escaping did not help Greystone's public image. Some patients were slowly transferred to smaller-capacity programs, reducing the number of residential patients to approximately 450 in 2005. Then, on September 8, 2005, the New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority closed a $186,565,000 bond issue on behalf of the State of New Jersey Department of Human Services for the completion of a new, 43,000 m² (460,000 ft²) Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, still with a shortage of about 75 beds.

The Greystone campus covers over one square mile (259 ha) and consists of 43 buildings.

Source: Wikipedia

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