By Mary Wade Burnside
Times West Virginian
A job fair at the Highland-Clarksburg Hospital that will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday will give registered nurses and other patient-care workers the opportunity to interview for jobs at the facility that opened two months ago in Clarksburg.
But employees with other skills can use the opportunity to drop off a resume, as additional hiring will be taking place in the next few months.
“Anyone is welcome to come to the job fair,” said Eric Kennedy, the chief operating officer of the mental health facility. “We’ll only be able to do interviews for nurses and direct-care staff, but anybody who wants to come in and fill out an application for something we might have open in the future, that’s fine.”
Highland-Clarksburg opened Aug. 19 with 35 beds dedicated for children and adolescents, ages 5 to 17, said marketing director Shannon Putnam.
An additional 60 beds will be opened, with Dec. 1 as the target date, somewhat dependant on how hiring employees goes, Kennedy said.
Those beds will be divided between 35 adults and 25 forensics patients, or those who are not being tried for a crime because of mental health issues or those who have been found not guilty of a crime because of insanity.
Eventually, there will be 150 beds in all, including 30 more for forensic patients and 25 for veterans.
“Right now, the state needs 25 forensic beds, so that’s what we have opening in phase two,” Kennedy added.
He does not have a target date for when the veterans beds will be added; he has been in discussions with officials from the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg.
The facility has been in the works since early 2009, when an announcement was made that Highland Hospital in Charleston would take over space vacated by the United Hospital Center when that facility moved to Bridgeport in October 2010.
However, Fairmont General Hospital asked the West Virginia Health Care Authority for a hearing regarding’s Highland’s certificate of need (CON), as officials expressed fears that the facility would take way some of Fairmont General’s patients who are diverted from the William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital in Weston. The process went on until last year, when a deal was worked out that designed Fairmont General as a “primary referral hospital” for Sharpe.
Seventy-six employees already have been hired, Kennedy said, with an eventual goal of 260 when the hospital is fully operational.
The children and adolescent wing was opened in spite of the fact that construction was still taking place, but patient space was not expected to overlap with areas that would be under renovation.
The old UHC building is about 450,000 square feet, but Highland-Clarksburg only will be using about 140,000 square feet, giving designers the ability to keep different patient populations from coming into contact with one another. The renovation budget is $34 million, and work will be going on until January, Kennedy added.
Changes have included tearing down the hospital’s old parking structure, doing upgrades to the heating and cooling system and making renovations so the facility will be suitable for a psychiatric population, such as eliminating anything patients could use to hang themselves and making mirrors unbreakable.
Anyone interested in attending the job fair can show up and they will be directed to the appropriate place to fill out an application and have an interview, Putnam said.
Those who cannot attend can mail a resume to Highland-Clarksburg Hospital, 3 Hospital Plaza, Clarksburg, WV 26301 and specify what type of job they want to target, she added.
Email Mary Wade Burnside at firstname.lastname@example.org.