MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -Replacing the Vermont State Hospital with a new building would cost between $14 million and $21 million, architects have told the state.

Gilbane Building Co., a Providence, R.I., consultant, says building a 15-bed treatment facility in Waterbury would cost about $14.5 million, while renovating the Dale prison – which will be vacated this year – would cost about the same amount of money.

“These are very preliminary numbers and I think once we take a closer look at them, they will be significantly lower,” said Gerry Myers, commissioner of the state Department of Buildings and General Services. “They are just estimates right now.”

The state has been trying to figure out what to do with the 54-bed Vermont State Hospital for years. In 2004, the federal government decertified it amid problems including a patient’s suicide.

State officials want to build a 15-bed treatment center in Waterbury to replace it, augmenting that with new space at hospitals in Rutland and Burlington and the use of community-based facilities to treat patients.

Mental Health Commissioner Michael Hartman says he hopes to have an exact location and plans finalized by December.

“Honestly, I would like to open it tomorrow,” he said.

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