Vandals delay $2.5M expansion at Springfield drug rehab center

McKinley Hall leaders say expansion project necessary to add more addiction treatment services in Springfield.

Vandalism has delayed McKinley Hall’s plans to expand by several months and increased the costs by more than $600,000, but the project is moving forward.

The roadblocks are worth it, McKinley Hall CEO Wendy Doolittle said, because the new facility will bring more addiction treatment services to Clark County, which has seen a surge in drug overdose deaths.

“It’s just going to have a huge impact on the quality of services we’re able to provide and our utilization of staff,” she said.

In 2014, 37 people died of unintentional drug deaths. That jumped to 72 last year. Through May of this year, 28 people died from overdoses, according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office.

The move to 2624 Lexington Ave., formerly a pediatrics building owned by Community Mercy Health Partners, will nearly double the organization’s total space.

In March, a rock was thrown through a window in the building, Doolittle said. The cold temperatures then caused the pipes to burst and flood about 3,000 square feet of the facility.

Then in July, she said, someone stole the copper from the HVAC units in the back of the building. It will cost about $600,000 to replace the units, she said.

Both instances have set the project back about five months, she said, and increased the total project cost from about $1.9 million to $2.5 million.

Doolittle hopes to begin the bidding process for construction in about a month and be in the new facility by next August at the latest.

All of McKinley Hall’s current services will then be under one roof, she said, instead of spread out in multiple buildings.

“We’ll be able to utilize our staff better,” Doolittle said.

It will also allow for the addition of a 24-hour treatment facility for women and children, she said, and the expansion of the men’s residential treatment program by two beds.

The move will have a positive impact on Deontrae Ellis, coordinator of the Criminal Justice program at McKinley Hall.

Ellis now works out of a temporary office on Center Street, separate from other programs.

Once the new facility is completed, Ellis “won’t have to drive if I have to talk to (Doolittle) or coordinate with other supervisors,” he said.

It will also make it easier for staff to work together, he said, since they’ll be under one roof.

The new building will help McKinley Hall tackle the heroin epidemic in the community, Doolittle said.

“Over the last several years we’ve served probably the same number of people,” she said, “just a different drug addiction.”

The new residential treatment center for women will be the first in the county and will provide a much-needed service, said Kim Mason, nursing supervisor at the Clark County Jail.

Mason works with McKinley Hall to get inmates drug treatment when they’re released.

“There’s a waiting list for everybody so I’m hoping it brings good things,” she said.

She hopes to get more inmates on track with the organization once the expansion is completed.

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