Missouri state governor Jay Nixon, along with local officials, have broken ground on a new psychiatric hospital in Fulton, US.

The development of the facility will involve an investment of $211m and is expected to open by the end of 2017.

Governor Nixon said: "We are morally obligated to provide Missourians suffering from severe mental illness the best care and treatment possible, in a safe and secure therapeutic environment.

"The development of the facility will involve an investment of $211m and is expected to open by the end of 2017."

"That is precisely what they will receive here at the new Fulton State Hospital."

The project will include the construction of a new administration building and auditorium, as well as development of vocational and recreational rehab facilities, modern dietary services and installation of an effective heating and cooling system.

The 300-bed facility will replace Biggs Forensic Centre that includes 186 beds and Guhleman Forensic Centre that comprises 91 beds.

The current Fulton State Hospital was constructed in 1851, which is claimed to be the oldest mental health facility located west of the Mississippi River.

Missouri mental health director Keith Schafer said: "The safety of staff and patients is critical to creating an environment of recovery and treatment.

"This will be a high security facility that will last for many generations and have the flexibility to change for future needs."