Page images
PDF
EPUB

requisite large amount of water for the use of the Asylumi, while the elevation gives every facility for drainage.

The situation is sufficiently elevated above the village of Kalamazoo, to bring the buildings in view from that place, and also from the Michigan Central Rail Road which crosses a corner of the tract. The view obtained from the windows of the Asylum will be very pleasing, embracing a fine and well settled country, traversed by the Kalamazoo river and its tributaries. Probably few situations in the United States, which have been selected for similar purposes, equal this in natural beauty and advantages.

WARMING AND VENTILATION.

Arrangements have been made with Joseph Nason, Esq., of New York, to furnish and put up steam engine, boilers, pipes and other apparatus, for a system of forced ventilation, This subject has received the careful attention of the Board, and they have become satisfied that no other method is so capable of performing the necessary part of warming and ventilating so large an establishmet.

It is now generally conceded, that the old methods of heating by furnaces are exceedingly defective and incompetent, while they afford far too little means of keeping the rooms constantly supplied with pure air.

Warming and ventilating should go on together. Means should be provided for expelling the foul air, to the same extent as the fresh air is admitted. Without this, no system of warming is either economical or perfect. Examination and inquiry have confirmed the fact, that the ordinary system of making the ventilation depend upon the spontaneous action of warm air currents, has failed to give satisfactory results in all sanitary institutions. In the plan proposed, this double ohject is effected, by means of a fan or blower, worked by steam, by which fresh air is blown into the air ducts, passing in its way over iron pletes or pipes heated by steam, and thence distributed over the whole building, by ample flues; while the contaminated air of the rooms is carried off by means of large ventilating flues, passing up into the attic, and terminating at a common point in the cupolas. This apparatus will be capable of discharging into the ducts leading to the building, sixty thousand cubic feet of air per minute. It will operate to force in either warm air or cold; preserving at all seasons, from the coldest to the most

warm and stagnant weather, throughout the buildings, a supply of perfectly pure air, at the desired temperature, more than equal to the consumption of every individual.

In this arrangement, the boilers are placed in a building, separated by a distance of several hundred feet from the buildings occupied by the patients. Thus all danger from fire or explosion will be avoided, and fire will scarcely, if ever, be needed in any part of the Asylum. The buildings have been planned with reference to the use of this apparatus, the cost of which will be about twenty-three thousand dollars.

It is proposed to light the Asylum with gas, manufactured on the premises, in a small detached building.

a

PROGRESS OF THE BUILDING.

[ocr errors]

The erection of the centre portion of the main building was commenced as early as was practicable, last spring. A favorable contract was entered into with Mr. Tobias Johnson an experienced builder, for the mason work, and he has proceeded dilligently and faithfully with the work, until the means were exhausted.

A statement of the amount of appropriation expended, and the objects to which it has been applied, will be found in the appendix. The amount thus expended is seventeen thousand four hundred and eightyseven dollars, and forty-five cents. The small balance remaining will not be more than is required to meet outstanding contracts for materials. A considerable amount of these materials is on hand, and there are contracts partially fulfilled, for bricks and other materials, to be delivered during the winter. About eight hundred dollais is also due contractors, for per centage, retained according to the law.

The walls of the basement, and of the first and second stories of the centre building, and about four feet of the third story had been laid up, when the work was brought to a stop, early in September. It was hoped that the entire walls of the centre building could be completed and roofed in. This was found impossible, with the means at our disposal, but the work done, has been rendered secure against the winter in the best manner practicable.

COST.

The Board have not arrived at a very close estimate of the ultimate cost of the Asylum buildings and fixtures, which at this time is hardly possible; but they have reason to suppose the entire expense wil fall lit

tle, if any, short of two hundred thousand dollars. And this sum they are unanimously of opinion, is not larger than is required, to make such provision for the care of her insane, as the true interest of the State demands. As our State is new to this class of expenditure, and there are probably few of her citizens who are familiar with Institutions of the kind proposed, the Board feel called upon to state some of the reasons upon which they have based this estimate, and demand so considerable an appropriation.

It should be borne in mind that an Institution for the Insane, is not one of custody merely, but of cure. Insanity is a disease as curable as any other acute disease of equal severity, if taken in its early stages. Under the modern enlightened system of management, by far the larger number of cases, under such circumstances, are recoverable. The statistics of Asylums in the United States show, that of recent cases, from eighty to ninety per cent are discharged, cured, or greatly improved; of chronic cases about thirty per cent. Few of these cases probably would have been cured, had the patients been subjected to the old methods of confinement, or even the ordinary treatment of friends, and of physicians, out of a curative Asylum. When, therefore, we consider the fearful nature of this disease, and its results, if suffered to pass without the treatment necessary for restoration, and the number of cases which are of recent origin in our population, it seems the part of a wise and humane State policy, and one of the noblest of all public charities, to make the most ample provision possible for all her unfortunate insane. No facility should be left unapplied, nor expense spared which is known to be conducive to so important an end.

Of the States which compose this Union, twenty-seven have established Asylums for the Insane. These differ much in size, cost and var riety of accommodations. Some of the States have found it necessary to erect several. Massachusetts has six, New York, five; Pennsylvania, four; Ohio, three. We subjoin a statement of the cost of a few of the best of these Institutions : State Lunatic Asylum, Utica, N. Y. cost, $517,000, for 450 patients. Penn. Hospital for the Insane, Penn., *

330,(00,

230 McLean Asylum, Massachusetts,

321,450, 200 State Asylum, (not completed), N. J.,

225,000,- 250 Maryland Hospital, Maryland,

4

[ocr errors]

46

213,600,

6

M 130

64

66

66

66

Butler Hospital, Rhode Island, cost, 106,600, for 130 patients. Hartford Retreat, Connecticut,

105,000,“ 200 Mount Hope, Maryland,

100,000,“

120 Friends Asylum, Pennsylvania,

88,593, 60 It is now almost universally conceded that not less than two hnndred and fifty patients, nor more than three hundred, is the number which can be best accommodated in one Institution. These are generally divided into eight classes, of each sex, each of which should have 'sepa rate balls and suits of apartments, as they cannot, as a rule, be allowed to consort together. It is not thought advisable to have more than two stories occupied by patients. This arrangement inakes necessary three or more wings on each side of the centre building, of two stories height each, besides the basement. In addition, is required a Chapel, infimarias, kitchen offices, gas works, engines for supplying water, and boilers, engine and apparatus for a thorough system of warming and ventilation, besides a great number of s!:aller but costly fixtures.

From a too rigid economy, and from want of proper attention to the numerous details, or the erection under incompetent persons, expensive alterations have been found necessary, in many of the Asylums in the United States, which, in some cases, have equalled the original cost of the building. A large part of the actual cost of the building might thus have been saved, had the subject been duly considered in the outset. Many of these Asylums were completed in several parts, at different times, and on different plans; of course, at an enhanced cost, besides do stroying unity of plan, and heated and ventillated afterwards, at a cost of from five thousand to fifty thousand dollars.

It appears by the returns of the late consus, that there are four hundred and twenty-six insane or idiotic persons reported in this state. As such returns are known to be generally below the mark, it may be safely assumed, that there is one insane person for every one thousand of popmlation. Some of the States have one to every six hundred; others, ono to every fifteen hundred. This calculation would make the number of msane in this State to be not less than five hundred. The greater part of those are undoubtedly proper subjects of State care, and of cure, neither age nor social position interposing any bar. .

It will thus be seen, that if the Asylum were now completed, it would still be inadequate to the wants of the State. How many of these un

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a

fortunates would be brought to the State Institution, we have no means of knowing, but that every ward would soon be filled, we have good reason to suppose. Many insane from this State are now in the care of Institutions in other States, and many more would be under such care if it were possible to obtain it. But these Institutions are everywhere full, and in some of them no amount of compensation will procure

admission for a patient out of the State in which they are situated. The demand, then, is most urgent, to carry on and complete the Asylum without delay.

We esteem it to be the duty, as well as interest of the State, to make the most immediate and ample provision in its power, for all its insane, who are not in a condition to reside in private families, without distinction of nativity or social position. No insane person should be left to the care of a county house for paupers, still less of a jail, as is the case with many at present. No good results to such, from the treatment they are likely to meet with in such places, and the moral effect upon themselves, as well as those with whom they come in contact in such situations, is as bad as can well be imagined.

It may be asked, whether a portion of the buildings may not be completed and occupied by patients, while the remainder is in progress. We answer that there are important objections. What portion shall be first completed and occupied ? The centre building is intended for the offices, and residence of Superintendent and assistants, and is not at all designed for the reception of crazy people. The proper care of the insane makes necessary a eertain classification, aceording to mental condition, and the several wards are constructed with reference to this classification. Every part of the house is designed for treatment of insanity in some of its stages or phases, and no part can be dispensed withi. Thus, the extreme wings are for the violent, who require to be as far as possible removed from the quiet patients, and so on. Moreover, the male and female patients must be in widely separate wards, and the building and grounds must accord with this principle of seclusion. The power of an Institution for the cure of insanity resides in a great degree in its facilities for this perfect classification, and with only a portion completed this cannot be effected. The object, therefore, of early opening the Institution cannot be realized, by completing and occupying a part only. Again, supposing a portion of the building adapted to this

« PreviousContinue »