Murdoch Developmental Center

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Murdoch Developmental Center
Murdoch Developmental Center
Construction Began 1940
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Alternate Names Butner Training School



In 1940 the United States Army bought approximately 40,000 acres of land from farmers and started Camp Butner. During World War II, Camp Butner was a training camp for thousands of soldiers being prepared for combat. There was also a POW camp for German and Italian prisoners. The POW camp was located on the site that houses the Federal Prison today. After World War II, the state of North Carolina bought the Camp for $1,500,00.00 and the Army hospital and furnishings for the sum of one dollar ($1.00) and opened John Umstead State Hospital. The community was officially named Butner. Residents moved to the "Old Colony" from Caswell Center, Kinston, North Carolina. The Colony was part of the State Hospital located on 9th and 10th Streets. Residents were housed in two-story barracks once occupied by the Army.

On December 26, 1957, 323 residents and fewer than 60 staff members occupied the present campus which was initially named "The Butner Training School". There were 12 buildings designed to serve 57 Piedmont and Western Counties. On April 10, 1958, the school had the "formal opening and dedication" in the school auditorium. The late Governor Luther Hodges made the presentation address. Dr. Roy J. Blackley was the Acting Director. The Butner Training School name was changed to Murdoch School. Four additional buildings were constructed. Dr. James F. Elliott was appointed Director of Murdoch School.

Today Murdoch also serves young adult males with developmental disability diagnoses and extreme behavior problems from the entire state in a specialized behavioral unit (BART), and provides statewide, specialized residential services to children who have autism with accompanying severe behavioral challenges (PATH) and adolescents with developmental disabilities, mental health issues and behavioral challenges (STARS).