The last patient left Bushnell Hospital in 1946, leaving the site with an uncertain future.
The US Army had assured Brigham City that Bushnell Hospital would be a long-term institution, but as World War II came to a close, it began eyeing a location closer to Salt Lake City for a permanent veterans hospital. Brigham City raised a protest, but the last patient left Bushnell in 1946, leaving Brigham City with what amounted to a deserted town sprawling along its southern border. The state looked at various uses for this “white elephant,” including a youth rehabilitation facility, a mental hospital, and a school for the deaf and blind—perhaps even combined into one, though this idea was dismissed as impractical. It looked for a time like Bushnell might become a military school until the idea was put forth to turn it into a boarding school for the Navajo Nation.