Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe broke ground Wednesday on a new four-story, 144-bed forensic psychiatric facility.

The 170,000-square-foot facility will have patient care units, a comprehensive rehab mall, outdoor courtyards, and office spaces.

Officials say the new building will also be very secure, a high priority after the escape of patient Randall Saito last November.

“The main exterior boundary will be the exterior door, but any opening will have a major security fence on it. You will have to go through a metal detector, very similar to a court system, to get into the building. It will be a secured, state-of-the-art, cutting-edge, safe building. It will be extremely hard, if not impossible, for somebody to escape from this building,” said Hawaii State Hospital administrator William May.

In January, the state Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) awarded a $140 million contract to a design-build team led by Hensel Phelps to design and construct the new facility.

It is expected to be completed in late 2020 and be ready to be occupied in early 2021.

Click here for more information on the project.