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The Counseling Center breaks ground

The plans for the Counseling Center’s future Ironton drug and alcohol treatment facility, which will have both residential and outpatient and health and wellness programs. (Submitted Photo)

Drug, alcohol treatment facility to be built in Ironton

On Wednesday, local officials gathered on a vacant lot on the corner of Fourth and Center streets across from the Lawrence County Courthouse for a groundbreaking for a what will eventually become the Counseling Center’s Health and Wellness Center.

The Counseling Center is based in Scioto County and has been in business for 41 years and, at one time, had an office in Ironton.

The building will serve as both an inpatient and outpatient facility and even have a gym in the multimillion dollar facility.
Ironton Mayor Sam Cramblit said it was a great project and what was excited to see what they would bring to the city.

“We are here to celebrate growth and progress here in the city and the investment the Counseling Center has made of over $2 million in this project,” he said. “It will create 15 jobs immediately. Also, they are investing in our city and in the future of our residents and their health and wellness. It is a great day to see some progress here in the city.”

Andy Albrecht, the CEO of the Counseling Center, said they chose Ironton because it is part of the southern Ohio region they serve.

“Back in the ‘90s, the Counseling Center had a small office here in Ironton, so we are very familiar with the area,” he said. “We work very closely with the ADAMHS board which includes the Adam-Scioto-Lawrence county region, so it was a very natural fit to be here.”

Albrecht said the previous CEO Ed Hughes had talked with Bill Dingus four or five years ago about expanding into Lawrence County but nothing really landed after that discussion.Now it has changed.

“It is very humbling and just exciting to see those ideas that we had years ago come totally full circle and we have landed here today,” Albrecht said.

He said it was news to no one that southern Ohio has been crippled by the opioid epidemic for years and “the Counseling Center is in a very special situation, very blessed to be in a position to fight back with the services we provide.”

He said they will be able to provide a full spectrum of alcohol and drug treatment services to Lawrence County from residential inpatient treatment to outpatient services as well as unique offerings like health and wellness and vocational services.

“That is something we believe in strongly,” Albrecht said. “It is not just about getting clean and sober, it is what happens to that person after treatment. Do they have a safe place to go? Do they need extra help getting in shape? Do they need job skills? That is the kind of the special stuff that has been the true spirit of the Counseling Center.”

Albrecht said they hope to start on the construction of the new Counseling Center facility as soon as possible.

“There is going to be a lot of activity here in September,” he said. “It is approximately a one year build, so at this time next year we hope to have a ribbon cutting when we open it up.”