About Texas Panhandle Centers: History
Before September of 2000, Texas Panhandle Centers was actually two organizations: Texas Panhandle Mental Health Authority (TPMHA) and Amarillo State Center (ASC). Texas Panhandle Mental Health Authority served adults with chronic mental illness and adolescents with emotional disturbances in the upper counties of the Texas Panhandle. Amarillo State Center served mentally retarded citizens residing in the Panhandle. TPMHA employed approximately 160 staff, and ASC employed approximately 450. These two organizations merged in September of 2000, becoming Texas Panhandle Mental Health Mental Retardation.
Texas Panhandle Mental Health Authority (TPMHA)
The City of Amarillo appointed the original Board of Trustees in March of 1966. The name of the organization was Amarillo Community MHMR Center, and it served only Potter and Randall Counties. In September of 1973, the Center reorganized in order to expand service coverage to the upper twenty-one counties of the Panhandle. The Center’s name was changed to Texas Panhandle Mental Health Authority in 1988. The agency established offices in Dumas, Borger, Perryton, Pampa, Hereford, Clarendon and Amarillo in order to serve residents in all twenty-one counties.
Amarillo State Center (ASC)
In 1966, Amarillo was selected as a pilot project to demonstrate the feasibility of training persons with mental retardation in their community. Construction began in 1966 on land donated by the Harrington Foundation in the Harrington Regional Medical Center, and completed in 1967. The Amarillo State Center for Human Development began serving clients in twenty-three counties of the Texas Panhandle.
A system of satellite offices were established in Pampa, Borger, Childress, Tulia, Dumas, Hereford, Perryton, and Wellington to provide day care, training, preschool, prevocational, and vocational training. The picture below is from the early 1970’s expansion of the Amarillo State Center.
“Ground was broken Thursday for the $409,440 addition to the Amarillo State Center for Human Development on the center’s main campus at 901 Wallace Blvd. Scooping up the first shovels fill of dirt are, from left, State Sen. Max Sherman, Virginia Light, chairman of the center’s volunteer services council and Louis Evans, executive director of the Amarillo Area Academic Health Center Corp. The addition will accommodate adults in the work evaluation and training program sponsored by the center.”
In 2000, with the merger of TPMHA and ASC, Texas Panhandle Mental Health Mental Retardation was formed. On December 13th, 2010, Texas Panhandle Mental Health Mental Retardation began doing business as Texas Panhandle Centers Behavioral and Developmental Health. This change was made to better reflect the agency’s focus of service, as well as reflecting our goal of erasing stigma attached to intellectual disabilities.
Texas Panhandle Centers (TPC) serves persons with mental illness, intellectual and developmental disabilities (formerly referred to as mental retardation) and children with developmental delays from birth to three years of age. The Board of Trustees adopted a decentralized service system requiring care be provided to local service areas in the most cost-effective manner. The Center has service centers located in seven locations in the Texas Panhandle: Amarillo, Borger, Clarendon, Dumas, Hereford, Pampa and Perryton. All Texas Panhandle Centers primary locations are accessible to persons with disabilities, and all TPC services are available through planned accommodations.