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Council of State gives permission to close mental hospital

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By GARY D. ROBERTSON
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- North Carolina's oldest state mental hospital could soon be shuttered now that statewide elected leaders have agreed that remaining patients can be moved to a more modern location.

The Council of State - comprised of the governor, lieutenant governor and eight other elected officials - voted Tuesday to give its formal blessing to the Department of Health and Human Services to close Raleigh's Dorothea Dix Hospital on Aug. 10.

Dix first opened in 1856, and many campus buildings are several decades old. Activity there has been winding down recently with declining funds and a new hospital opening in Butner.

Acting department Secretary Al Delia said 22 minimum-security forensic patients left would go to Butner.

The Legislature could still block the closure when lawmakers return in May.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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