Amid failed plans to build mental hospital next to Baton Rouge school, councilman wants to prevent similar proposals

A plan to build a mental health hospital next to a school in North Baton Rouge was scrapped last month amid hundreds of complaints from the community.
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 10:48 PM CST

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A plan to build a mental health hospital next to a school in North Baton Rouge was scrapped last month amid hundreds of complaints from the community.

The facility was set to open this month next to Forest Heights Academy of Excellence in the Glen Oaks Neighborhood, and was supposed to house severely and persistently mentally ill adults, including “Those who are forensically involved with aggressive/dangerous behaviors, and who have been civilly committed subsequent to being found un-restorable incompetent to proceed to trial.”

Councilman Daryl Hurst was one of many who opposed the plan before it was halted.

“By putting a facility next door to do this school, not only will it pull the neighborhood down, but it also brings the school down, and start a heavier decline in North Baton Rouge than what’s already been happening,” Hurst said.

Hurst is now planning to create a resolution to make sure this issue never happens again.

Under his proposal, any future psychiatric hospitals that come inside the city-parish must be built at least two miles away from a school, and one mile away from a residential neighborhood.

Hurst says he supports any facility that addresses mental health concerns, but he does not believe they should be built next to our students, teachers, or neighbors.

“I support mental health. I have nothing against these facilities, but they should never come this close to any school,” Hurst said.

Hurst believes he will get unanimous support from the Metro Council to get this passed.

“When you elect somebody to the Metro Council, you’re not electing them specifically for their district, you’re electing them to make a decision for their parish,” Hurst said.

The next council meeting is Wed, Feb. 8.

Click here to report a typo.