Texas-based Oceans Healthcare will break ground Thursday on an almost $8 million hospital in Waco to treat people suffering from behavioral problems.

Site work for the 48-bed facility already has started at 5931 Crosslake Parkway, across Corporation Parkway from the Legends Crossing mixed-use development and near Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center.

Oceans Behavioral Hospital Waco will employ about 90 people in clinical and non-clinical positions, according to a press release.

“We conducted extensive research on potential locations in Waco but ultimately decided to construct the facility from the ground up at Crosslake Parkway to better customize the hospital to our specific service offerings, including separate units for treating adult and geriatric patients,” Oceans Healthcare CEO Stuart Archer said in an email response to questions.

Z Constructors, of Richardson, has started clearing land and installing infrastructure at the site, located next to Fresenius Greenway Kidney Center.

A building permit posted at the construction site places the value of the building at $7.8 million, a figure that would not include equipment.

Oceans Healthcare operates almost 30 hospitals and outpatient clinics in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, including multiple facilities in some communities. Those already offering services in Texas include locations in Abilene, Katy, Longview, Lufkin, Midland and Pasadena.

Asked if Oceans targets midsize communities, Archer said, “Not necessarily. We open facilities in areas where we identify a need for behavioral health treatment options. We have hospitals in cities of all sizes, from larger metropolitan areas like New Orleans and Houston (Katy and Pasadena), and smaller cities such as Lufkin, Texas, and DeRidder, Louisiana.”

A 2016 community health needs assessment that found more than 10 percent of Waco residents live “with someone who has a diagnosed behavioral health issue, yet Texas as a whole ranks 43rd nationwide for scarce access to care,” the press release states.

The facility and its staff will “provide care to patients managing depression, anxiety, behavioral disorders associated with early-stage Alzheimer’s or dementia, and other behavioral health issues,” according to the press release.

Founded in 2004, Oceans last year started phasing in a new program targeting active duty members of the military and military veterans, as well as adolescents and patients managing disorders relating to substance use.

Choosing a site near Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest was no accident.

“It was not the only factor in determining the future site of Oceans Behavioral Hospital Waco,” Archer said. “However, we have found proximity to other health care providers can be beneficial in treating patients with multiple conditions and ensuring care coordination throughout a patient’s journey.”

Other construction on or near the Baylor Scott & White hospital site continues, with work well underway on a $50 million sports medicine “center of excellence.” Steel framing for that project dominates the view near the Interstate 35 entrance to the complex.

The Oceans hospital in Waco is scheduled to open later this year. In the meantime, it will fill staff positions that include a hospital administrator, medical director, director of nursing and a community liaison director.

The Greater Waco jobless rate continues to plunge. Kris Collins, senior vice president for economic development at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, recently told a gathering of business leaders the area is at or near full employment. That can prove challenging when hiring, Collins said.

“Yes, while it is always difficult to find great people, we are confident we can find the right individuals that share our passion for helping patients,” Archer said. “We look forward to building and growing our Waco team.”

He would not discuss wage specifics, saying they will vary by position.

“Aside from having the clinical qualifications and experience necessary to meet all licensing and accrediting standards, prospective employees must prioritize providing quality care and enjoy working with patients in a fast-paced environment,” he said.

For the third straight year, Oceans in 2018 was named one of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the United States, according to the Dallas Business Journal and the online trade magazine biospace.com. It reportedly saw revenues increase by 66 percent over three years, topping $100 million in 2017, when it treated an estimated 15,000 patients.

Archer is scheduled to attend a groundbreaking ceremony at 2 p.m. Thursday at the construction site, a company spokeswoman said.

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