A plan to spend $16 million at Robert M. Greer Center is good news for Enid, and really good news for clients at the center.

Oklahoma Department of Human Services officials have confirmed $16 million has been set aside for Greer Center. But, how the money will be spent, and for what, remains undecided.

The center, dedicated in 1988, is located on part of the former Northern Oklahoma Resource Center of Enid campus.

It provides care for clients who are intellectually disabled and potentially dangerous, to themselves or others.

Although Greer Center came into being in 1988, most of the buildings and other infrastructure are much older.

“Most buildings on campus were built in the ‘30s, ‘40s, ‘50s, and the infrastructure, water lines, everything buried, has not been kept up very well,” said Hugh Sage, Greer Center director.

Greer administration has installed itself in one of the only new structures available, erected a decade back for use by NORCE. Staff members were forced to relocate two years ago, after the waterline to their previous administrative offices went out.

The DHS plan as it exists now, requires a 20-30 acre patch just south of Greer’s current administration buildings. In that area, would go three new residential buildings, with 16 beds each, but more spacious than the current buildings and ADA accessible.

They also would be equipped with storm shelters.

Nearby the residential buildings, a recreation center and a kitchen will be built. Existing supply and maintenance structures also are to be replaced.

From the time any similar plan got the green light, it would likely take close to 30 months to carry out.

Greer Center serves an important function for the state. The facility started out as state-run.

Intended to be a short-term treatment facility, it was to take in intellectually disabled clients with dangerous behaviors, stabilize them, fix their behaviors and place them in a supervised community alternative.

Later, DHS contracted out the work, and Liberty of Oklahoma Corp. took over operations in 2000. It has proven to be a good example of a public-private partnership.

Updating this important facility is a good idea.

We hope DHS and state leaders make this a priority so work can begin as soon as possible.

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