Prairie Lakes Healthcare makes $2 million donation toward new mental health facility in Watertown

May 23, 2022

WATERTOWN, S.D. ––Prairie Lakes Healthcare System has recently made a $2 million donation toward the construction of a new Appropriate Regional Facility (ARF) in Watertown. The Human Service Agency (HSA) broke ground on the facility during the fall of 2021. With mental health needs continuing to rise locally, regionally, and across the nation, this new facility will serve as a significant asset for the support of those in need of behavioral health care in our region.

The new $7 million dollar ARF facility, to be located just behind the main HSA building on 19th street in Watertown, will provide the region with four additional mental health beds where individuals experiencing a mental health crisis can be treated for up to five days. In addition, the ARF will also provide four beds for substance abuse detoxification and continue as the current Serenity Hills, a 16 bed halfway house for men with a dual diagnosis of mental health and addiction. The ARF facility will serve as a safe location, outside of an emergency room, that has the staff and resources readily available to care for individuals who present with mental health or substance abuse needs. The ARF facility is the result of a state wide assessment evaluating the need for more regional care for those with psychiatric needs.

“There is a need in our region for additional mental health facilities and we are dedicated to helping meet this need. We have a very collaborative relationship with the Human Service Agency for patients at Prairie Lakes that require clinical expertise and resources that the HSA provides to our community,” Prairie Lakes Interim CEO, Paul Macek, said. “It’s our partnership with the HSA that links these patients to the services and treatment they need. This new AFR facility will reduce the number of psychiatric and detox walk-ins to the emergency room as these individuals can soon receive the appropriate evaluations and treatment at the right time and receive them directly at the ARF.”

“I am thankful to have such a supportive hospital in our community. We have longstanding and very positive working relationship with Prairie Lakes and their financial contribution to our new mission is proof of their dedication and support to improve mental health services in our community. I look forward to a continued partnership with them as we begin our operations this fall,” said Kari Johnston, Executive Director of the Human Service Agency.

Johnston reports they are continuing to seek donations in support of the Behavioral Health facility to offset the rising and unpredictable construction costs. If you are interested in making a donation, you can go to their website at or call Kari Johnston at 605-884-4540.