Newhaven marks renovation

Published 5:00 am Friday, April 29, 2005

Newhaven Recovery Center officials on Thursday celebrated arecent renovation that they say puts the physical structure on parwith the services they provide to recovering alcoholics and drugaddicts.

“The building matches the treatment they receive now,” said JohnThompson, clinical coordinator for the center on Nalco Lane.

The renovation, totaling almost $263,000, was started in 2002and completed in about a year, said Wayne Gray, property managerfor the Southwest Mental Health Foundation. The renovation includeda new roof, a lagoon and treatment system, and new furnishings forclients.

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“It’s first class now,” said Randy Burress, a past president ofthe foundation, which oversees approximately 20 facilities in a10-county area.

The foundation acquired the building in 1991. A renovation thenopened the facility for 24 male clients. For women, a 12-bedfacility on Williams Boulevard Extension opened in 1994.

While the foundation oversees the facilities, the SouthwestMental Health Complex provides services and pays rent for use ofthe building. Funds for the renovation came from the state and thefoundation.

Foundation and complex officials cited a leaking roof and otherproblems that were addressed with the renovation.

“It got to the point we were putting Band-Aids over bulletholes,” Burress said.

Dr. Steve Ellis, executive director of the mental healthcomplex, said the renovated facility is “light years” ahead ofwhere it was. He said having a good facility is beneficial inseveral ways.

“The better the environment is the better it is for the clientswe serve,” Ellis said.

Ellis said problems such as a leaking roof detract from thereasons clients come to the center, where they live for the 42 daysof treatment. He said a pleasant environment allows them to focuson the treatment program and their goals.

Also, staff members are helped when facilities are good. He saidtheir morale is higher and they can concentrate their efforts onhelping clients.

Newhaven Director Kelly Sims said Thursday’s open house wasdesigned to make the community aware of the services the centerprovides.

“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for everyone,” Simssaid about those needing to use the center.

Newhaven uses the 12-step program of recovery.

The center also has an after care and intensive outpatientprogram and prevention programs can be presented to schools,community organizations and faith-based programs. Soon, the centerwill implement a pilot program to offer GED classes, job searchskills and résumé writing.

Sims said treatment costs to the client are based on a slidingscale. The minimum is $850.

“Most of the folks in this area will qualify for the minimum,”Sims said.

Regarding the physical structure, Gray said foundation officialsare continuing to try to upgrade Newhaven and other facilities. Hesaid the new fiscal year starts in October.

“Every year we’re putting more money into the facilities,” Graysaid. “We’re never through.”