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Phoenix Programs hopes to expand outreach with new facility

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 | 10:05 p.m. CDT
Phoenix Program Development Officer Jarin Wood describes the mural displayed in the staircase as an area where people can reflect after a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday at the center. Ashley Drissell and students in her MU ceramics class created and donated the mural to the new Phoenix Program Center. "It's very emotional and touches a lot of people," Wood said.

COLUMBIA — Phoenix Programs celebrated the official opening of its new facility on Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Mayor Bob McDavid, Ambassadors Chairwoman Keri Tipton of the Chamber of Commerce and Phoenix Programs Executive Director Deborah Beste together used a pair of oversize scissors to cut through the ribbon, which marked not only the opening of Phoenix Programs' new facility but also the kickoff of Recovery Month.

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Phoenix Programs is a nonprofit organization that provides treatment for Columbia residents with addictions to alcohol and other substances. 

The new facility at 90 E. Leslie Lane is a consolidation of two other previous Phoenix Programs locations, one on Fifth Street and the other on Vandiver Drive.

The new 28,000-square-foot facility cost about $4.8 million, said Jarin Wood, development officer of Phoenix Programs.

Wood said the land itself cost $1 million and was donated anonymously, while the other $3.8 million covered the cost of the building and was funded through grants and donations. 

The new facility allows for an easier treatment process for clients because they don’t have to be moved from one facility to another. There is also more space at the new location, which can hold up to 41 residents at once, Wood said. 

In addition to the residential accommodations in Phoenix Programs’ new building, there are also detoxification treatment facilities, outpatient treatment areas for different levels of abuse, offices for case management professionals and counselors, a new computer lab that should be available to use within two weeks and a host of other services, Wood said. 

The computer lab will be used to help teach clients skills for the workplace, such as creating resumes and writing e-mails. 

Phoenix Programs aims to provide a comfortable facility for their clients that is supportive of their goals.   

“We want our clients to come in with hope and leave with freedom,” Wood said. 

An area of the facility the staff calls the “Wall of Hope” has large painted words of encouragement such as “Hope & Trust," "Respect" and "Dignity” that clients see as they walk by each day. 

Counseling offices on the upper floors of the building have strategically placed windows that overlook a row of trees, creating an atmosphere of peace to help clients feel at ease. 

“Phoenix Programs has jumped the Grand Canyon,” said Heather Harlan, prevention specialist for Phoenix Programs. “We’ve gone from small scattered sites to being one of the premier facilities in the state.” 

Phoenix Programs serves an average of 2,000 people per year, with hopes to expand its outreach with its larger accommodations. 

"We are continuing our efforts to bring the community together and let people know addictions are real diseases that can be treated," Wood said.


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