Two years might seem like a long time to make plans, but when it involves constructing a new building and moving the county’s mental health services to a new location, it means starting to look for a new location right away. That’s is why Guilford County commissioners and county staff, behind the scenes, are looking at big plans for mental health services in the county two years from now.

Last month, the Guilford County commissioners approved the sale of 2.5 acres at 201 N. Eugene St. to the City of Greensboro so the land could be used for a parking deck to support commercial growth in downtown Greensboro. That means the county has two years to move its mental health and substance abuse functions.

Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Alan Branson said the commissioners are being very proactive in the attempt to find a new location. He said progress has already been made and added that the county is eyeing locations that require little site work since the timeline will be tight. He added that, with the right contractor and positive weather conditions, a new building can be constructed in significantly less than two years.

The county does have a clause in the contract that allows for an additional six months in the North Eugene Street building if needed.

Commissioner Jeff Phillips, who has made improving mental health services a focus of his in recent years, said this move presents a big opportunity to improve client access and enhance mental health services. He also said the move needs to be fluid.

“It will be a priority to see that clients are served with no gap between services,” he said.

Phillips said he’s watching the coming transition in mental health services very carefully.

“I’ve been a bulldog about it and I am going to continue to be a bulldog about it,” he said. “We are going to do our best to keep most if not all of the same services at a central location with ease of access and with better collaboration of service providers.”