Under the Dome

NC House looks to save Dorothea Dix hospital artifacts

The McBryde Building, center, is seen on the Dorothea Dix property on Monday, Jan. 12, 2015. An N.C. House committee voted Tuesday to require the state to save artifacts from the historic psychiatric hospital.
The McBryde Building, center, is seen on the Dorothea Dix property on Monday, Jan. 12, 2015. An N.C. House committee voted Tuesday to require the state to save artifacts from the historic psychiatric hospital. cseward@newsobserver.com

The state would collect and maintain artifacts from the historic Dorothea Dix psychiatric hospital under a provision added to the House budget bill Tuesday.

Rep. Verla Insko, a Chapel Hill Democrat, proposed the amendment that would require the Department of Health and Human Services to save the items. The hospital has been closed for years, and the property is being sold to the city of Raleigh for a park. The new use of the 308-acre campus near downtown Raleigh could result in some of the buildings being demolished.

“There are considerable memorabilia there that we need to find a permanent place for,” she said.

The amendment passed the House Appropriations Committee with bipartisan support and will now be in the budget bill the House is expected to vote on this week.

“In light of what the state has done to Dorothea Dix’s legacy, we have to ensure that she’s remembered for the future,” said Rep. George Cleveland, a Jacksonville Republican.

The House budget also addresses how the state would spend the $52 million in proceeds from the Dix property sale.

It would put $25 million from the sale of Dorothea Dix into a trust fund for renovations at local hospitals so they can convert beds to short-term inpatient behavioral health beds for voluntary and involuntary commitments.

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