Substance abuse treatment center planned for LHP building

LHP Engineering Solutions headquarters is shown Sept. 9, 2015.

A local employer is selling its longtime headquarters to a company that plans to convert the building into a treatment center that provides detox and other services.

The Columbus Board of Aviation Commissioners voted Tuesday to approve a lease assignment at 1888 Poshard Drive for Ascension Recovery Services. According to airport director Brian Payne, the property has been leased by LHP in the past, and their agreement had a clause that allowed the company to assign the lease to another entity, under the right conditions.

Ascension is a healthcare consulting company focused on treating substance use disorder, said director of consulting services Brandon George. The business works throughout the United States, with offices in Florida and West Virginia.

The new treatment center in Columbus will feature two main services: alcohol and drug detox, and residential treatment.

“So if you get somebody that drinks every single day, they want to quit, it would be very dangerous for them to do so, because of the possibility of seizures,” George explained. “And so they come into a facility like ours where they can be under medical observation for three, five days, ish, around there, depending on severity. And then either that person exits, or they may need to stay at a little bit lower level of care, which we call residential treatment. … That can last anywhere from a week to 28 days. So big picture-wise, inpatient services, detox, residential, anywhere from three days to 30 days.”

They hope to close on the property by the end of the month, with the center being in place a year from now. George added that while Ascension will develop and run the center, it will technically be owned by an affiliated group that is somewhat like a sister company and owns other Ascension treatment centers.

The lease covers about two acres of property, with a rate of $15,020 per year, according to Payne. It runs through November of 2044.

Ascension is no stranger to the Columbus area, George said. The company has worked closely with Columbus Regional Health on getting treatment programs started and with the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress to help expand recovery housing in the area.

The company’s work with the hospital and community also included identifying the area’s needs, he said. In addition to recovery housing, they found that Columbus also needed an “inpatient detox and residential facility” for alcoholism and substance use disorder.

They’ve been looking for the right property for about two years, George said.

He noted that one of the advantages of having a facility on the airpark is its close proximity to local colleges, which provides an opportunity for collaboration. In the past, the company has worked with schools in other areas on certificate programs, he said.

Goerge emphasized that the work going on in Columbus is very important to Ascension.

“It’s an area that we care about,” he said. “Again, we’ve been working in Columbus for five years, so it’s not like we’re a new partner to the community.”