$11 million for mental illness unit

The gift will go toward remodeling two adolescent health facilities.

Kyle Potter

Another multi-million dollar donation from Caroline Amplatz will help the University of Minnesota renovate two of its behavioral health wards.

The $11.2 million gift will go toward remodeling the Adolescent Chemical Dependency unit as well as the Child and Adolescent Mental Health unit âÄî both on the Riverside campus of the University of Minnesota Medical Center. The renovation is hoped to be completed in 2014. She donated $50 million to the medical centerâÄôs ChildrenâÄôs Hospital in 2009.

“As a community, we must step up and do more to recognize and support those facing mental illness âÄî behavioral health impacts us all,” Amplatz said in a press release.

The renovation will bring a new, positive look to the dark halls and rooms of both mental health units, said Behavioral Services Vice President Kathy Knight. The gift will also restore the therapeutic pool, which was closed a year ago, and will create music and art therapy programs.

The generous gift helped make a long-term goal a reality in the near future, Knight said. The chemical dependency unit hadnâÄôt been renovated in several decades, she added.

“This really turbo-charges our effort,” Knight said. “We will have a rare opportunity here not to just renovate, but to truly reconstruct the program space.”

In 2009, Amplatz donated $50 million to the University for its childrenâÄôs hospital in honor of her father, Kurt Amplatz, a retired University professor. Amplatz ChildrenâÄôs Hospital will open in March, also on the
Riverside campus.

“She is not a physician, but she enables research and patient care,” Knight said of AmplatzâÄôs contributions.