A mental-health provider is in negotiations to purchase a building in the Columbus AirPark as the possible location for a medical-addictions treatment program.

Centerstone, a community-based mental health and addiction service, has operated in Indiana for nearly 60 years. Its Columbus offices are located at 720 N. Marr Road.

SIHO Insurance Services, Columbus, has owned the building at 1680 Whitney Court for a few years, said Doug Fauth, SIHO vice president and general counsel. It has been used by the insurance company as corporate temporary housing for consultants and others on short-term work assignments, he said.

The possibility and need for an in-patient, opioid-addiction treatment center has been mentioned in plans by the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress in Bartholomew County (ASAP).

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The ASAP group is aware that Centerstone is pursuing the building, said Scott Lewellen, Centerstone’s director of marketing and public relations. While there are a few treatment centers in surrounding counties, this is the first proposal for an in-patient treatment center in Bartholomew County that is underway.

“We are evaluating and developing details of a short-term, medical-addictions program that will include 24-hour staff supervision,” said Shirley Arney, Centerstone’s chief administrative officer. “We continue to work with our community partners to meet community needs. We are in the initial stages of determining programming and will be glad to keep the community updated as our plans proceed.”

Jeff Jones, executive lead for ASAP, said the organization was aware that Centerstone was considering expanding its service area with the possibility of a treatment center and is working to complete purchase of the building from SIHO.

ASAP’s role in the development of a strategy to combat opioid addiction in the area has been to identify the gaps in service capabilities in the overall community, Jones said. That strategy involves not just treatment centers, but counseling programs, a drug court and other possible programming, he said.

“We are working with Centerstone as a partner — as part of the team — in an effort to determine the strategy to close the gaps,” he said. “Before it’s all over, we anticipate there will be a need for a number of treatment centers.”

The 4,519-square-foot building, which was built in 1994, was originally used as a group home for youth and operated by George Junior Republic, an agency based in Pennsylvania that works on behalf of at-risk youths.

Listed on realty sites as a special-purpose commercial property on just over two acres, online descriptions of the property describe it as having 9 bedrooms and four bathrooms, a large communal kitchen, and a living room and family room area. Private parent quarters are included with an additional suite and business office.

The building is located on Columbus AirPark land, owned by the city. Columbus Airport Director Brian Payne said the city’s aviation board will consider a lease of the land to Centerstone as part of the building’s sale.

SIHO and Centerstone came to an agreement on the purchase within the past few months, Fauth said, and the companies are currently continuing the sales process with inspections and other pre-sale requirements. There is no set date for the sale to close, he said.

Grants announced

In addition to purchasing the building, Centerstone has been awarded several grants to expand opioid-disorder treatment services and addiction and detoxification services.

The nonprofit has received two grants from the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addication and 21st Century Cures to bolster addictions-treatment programs in south-central Indiana. Programing includes offering the Centerstone Opioid Crisis Response Team services in Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jennings, Lawrence, Monroe and Morgan counties, Lewellen said in a news release.

The Peers & Emergency Department program will be implemented at Columbus Regional Hospital and Indiana University Bloomington Hospital.

The crisis-response grant allows Centerstone to establish 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week, opioid-response intervention through the teams to mitigate instances of opioid overdose. The project will partner with emergency responders, law enforcement and other organizations to provide crisis services, including assessment, brief negotiation intervention and referral to treatment services and resources.

The Peers & Emergency Department grant will strengthen its existing partnerships with the hospitals by providing recovery coaches in hospital emergency rooms.

“Our area has been brutally hit by the opioid epidemic and we see numerous patients with opioid-use disorders on a daily basis,” said Dr. Kevin Terrell, emergency physician and physician lead for community programs at Columbus Regional Hospital.

The grant will allow Columbus Regional to work with Centerstone to implement a new approach in helping patients with opioid-use disorders, as emergency department providers will now help initiate evaluations, counseling and other treatments, he said.

In addition to those programs, the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction has awarded Centerstone a grant to expand addition residential detoxification and treatment services for men and women with opioid-use disorders, including pregnant women and women with children, in 11 Indiana counties.

The expansion will include increasing the numbers of residential treatment beds, expanding treatment space and increasing staff, Centerstone officials said. Indiana counties included in the expansion include Bartholomew, Brown, Jackson and Jennings counties, among others.

The expansion will include providing culturally competent, trauma-informed, evidence-based psychosocial treatment, screening and assessments, individualized care plans, case management, counseling and referrals to a coordinated support network, Centerstone officials said. The project expansions are scheduled for the beginning of next year.

About Centerstone

Centerstone is a not-for-profit organization providing a wide range of mental health, substance abuse, education and integrated health services to Indiana residents for the past 60 years. Centerstone operates 60 facilities in 17 Indiana counties, serving about 25,000 children, adolescents, adults and seniors. That includes one at 720 N. Marr Road in Columbus.

For more information, call 800-344-8802 or visit centerstone.org.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.