NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Long-delayed and with an increasing price tag, New Hanover County Commissioners will consider approving a $25.4 million budget increase for a planned substance use recovery center Monday.
In August, the county officially contracted the operations of its planned detox treatment facility to a Kentucky-based company, The Healing Place, after the health management company Trillium Health Resources ditched local provider, Coastal Horizons.
Trillium had obtained a special use permit to operate the facility in Jan. 2019, citing Coastal Horizons as a partner. Commissioners criticized Trillium’s move to cut out the local company, with Jonathan Barfield describing it as a “bait and switch.”
The Healing Place offers abstinence-based detox services, whereas Coastal Horizons provides medically assisted treatments.
Monday, commissioners will vote to approve a maximum total project cost of $25.47 million — far higher than the county’s current $971,850 budget for the project or initially planned $11.5 million total price tag.
The original move to build a detox facility arose out of Trillium’s 2016 effort to alleviate local jail populations. The county agreed to pitch in enough to cover 25 beds at an $11.5 million 100-bed facility, but the company later lost access to funding and requested the county take over.
Initially planned as an all-male facility, the county later expanded plans to also include a 100-bed women’s center.
The 200-bed center will be located on an 8.7-acre lot off Medical Center Drive, which Trillium transferred to the county in 2018. The site is currently undeveloped, located across the street from Oculoplastic Consultants of the Carolinas.
The new campus will include five one-story buildings surrounding a central courtyard. Facilities will include shelter, client housing, a dining hall, a non-medical detox unit, educational, program, and administrative space, as well as other support services, according to contract documents.
The funding source listed for the project in the budget amendment is “installment loan proceeds.”
Commissioners will consider the amendment at their regular meeting Monday, Dec. 7, beginning at 4 p.m.
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