Building and Grounds


newsDepartmental Objective


Departmental Objective
To maintain structures, equipment, furnishings, and grounds; maintain and service utilities such as water, electricity, steam, and HVAC systems necessary for the care of the facility and to provide for the safety and comfort, as well as other needs of the staff and individuals we serve.

Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute (SWVMHI) is a 179-bed state psychiatric institute operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS). The Institute serves adult and geriatric individuals.

SWVMHI's campus, located in rural Smyth County consists of over 40 maintained acres of land (approximately 100 acres total) with 24 buildings including its Steam Production Plant. Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute is accredited by The Joint Commission and is eligible to receive third-party payments.

Our Carpentry Staff are responsible for providing utility trade knowledge and experience in the accomplishment of maintenance/repair/development of facility buildings and life safety equipment.  They also maintain monthly and yearly inspections of all fire extinguishers.

Our Electrical Staff are responsible for providing technical support in the development, maintenance, and repair of facility telecommunication, electrical systems and equipment. They also conduct fire alarms testing and assist with elevator inspections and generator inspection testing.

Our Grounds Staff are responsible for maintaining grounds, streets, sidewalks, and parking lots in a safe and aesthetic manner. They also perform preventive maintenance on facility grounds equipment, and other designated gas and diesel powered equipment. The Grounds Staff maintains of one of the oldest cemeteries in the region; which is the final resting place for over 1200 of SWVMHI’s former residents.

Our HVAC Staff are responsible for preventative maintenance and repair of facility HVAC and refrigeration equipment to ensure quality Environment of Care is maintained.

Our Plumbing Staff are responsible for all of the plumbing/HVAC/steam needs of the facility. They are responsible for the preventive, corrective, and special project maintenance to plumbing, HVAC, and steam systems by maintaining fixtures, piping, flow meters, controls, fire sprinkler systems, etc.

Power Plant
Our Power Plant Staff are responsible for operating and maintaining the Power Plant equipment in a safe and efficient manner. They are responsible for the operation of gas/oil boilers and all auxiliary equipment that produces approximately  45 million pounds of steam each year to ensure the most efficient, safe operation of the plant. They also monitor the facility’s fire alarm system, generator alarms, energy management systems etc.










newsContact Information


Shaun May
Director of Physical Plant Services, Saftey, & Security


Sue Ashlin
Executive Secretary

276-783-1200 Ext 221