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SWFAS planning ribbon-cutting for new detox facility

By Staff | Feb 16, 2009

Southwest Florida Addiction Services is getting ready to cut the ribbon on its new 44,000-square-foot detox and outpatient treatment center.
The $9.5 million project began in 2004, when SWFAS staff realized its current facility would not properly service the future needs of Lee County. Joining Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties, SWFAS set about making its vision of a better facility a reality.
“We’ve been operating our programs in a facility we’ve outgrown,” said Kevin Lewis, SWFAS chief executive officer. “This new facility is going to provide a much nicer and capable setting for people with addictive disorders.”
Though Charlotte County has since opened its own detox center, the SWFAS facility still will serve Hendry and Glades counties, though the bulk of the focus will be in Lee.
Roughly “6,000 people a year” make their way through SWFAS’ programs, according to a prepared statement. Often, the non-profit organization is forced to turn people away because of the lack of bed space. The old building housed 25 beds; the new building will house up to 40.
Lewis said the new building and added bed space will help to alleviate some problems, but will not help everyone in need as addiction impacts between “6 (percent) and 7 percent” of the adult population in the tricounty area.
The new facility also has many green features, incorporated during the building’s conceptual phase. Along with utilizing solar energy, the building relies on natural lighting and low-voltage electrical lighting.
In times of emergency, the center can be used as a hurricane shelter.
“We’ve added pieces upon pieces to make the facility more environmentally friendly and more effective. We wanted to minimize our footprint as much as we could,” Lewis said.
The ribbon-cutting will be held at 10 a.m. Feb. 26 and will feature local dignitaries along with SWFAS staff. Lee County Commissioner Bob Janes, Fort Myers Mayor Jim Humphrey and state Rep. Gary Aubuchon, R-Cape Coral, will be in attendance. Tours will be available to the public from 3-6 p.m.
The SWFAS team will not begin to work at the facility until March, but Lewis still is ready to get into the new digs.
“We’re looking forward to using this facility,” he said. “We’re moving in after the open house, and we should be fully operational in March.”