early construction of women's center

Mountaineer Recovery Center officially begins women’s center construction

Originally published in The Journal

MARTINSBURG — Though COVID-19 might have created a few roadblocks along the way, the Mountaineer Recovery Center has officially begun construction of its women’s center, accomplishing another goal toward its mission of offering recovery resources to all parties addiction impacts.

According to a press release shared this week, the Mountaineer Recovery Center officially began construction on its newest project, the Mountaineer Women’s Center, a 32-bed facility which will exclusively serve pregnant women and women with children by providing a safe and stable environment where clients can live while in treatment to work on recovery and attachment skills.

“It is rewarding to consider how far-reaching the impacts of the women’s center will be,” Jonathan Hartiens, CEO of MRC, said. “The change this will make for children in our region, in particular, is significant. We will be able to see this program’s influence for future generations to come.”

Of the 32 beds for mothers and expectant mothers, 12 of those beds are located in private apartments, which will also include a second bedroom for children, and there will be a communal nursery and play area for children to utilize, as well as a large common room for families to gather.

The release said the facility was designed to enable mothers to have their children with them during as much of the recovery process as possible, and the programming has been set up not just to focus on sobriety but also to foster deep attachment between mother and child.

“The way addiction affects the brain can impact attachment. Certain opiates can anesthetize that maternal instinct. Bringing children into the treatment process will stimulate healing, reactivating attachments between mother and child,” Hartiens said. “The recovery program will include activities to promote healthy relationships and bonding, enabling these children to avoid being placed into the foster care system. Instead, the goal is for these children to grow up with a physically and emotionally present mother who is able to love and care for them in a way she wouldn’t be able to if still under the disease of addiction.”

In addition to the women’s center construction, in recent months, Mountaineer Recovery Center announced its administrative office expansion, in which all administrative offices were relocated from the original property to an adjacent building to better accommodate the center’s growing clientele.

Mountaineer Recovery Center also recently celebrated the opening of the sober living Ashley House in partnership with Semper Liberi and has plans to open a men’s sober living home soon, too.

With the announcement of the beginning of construction for this facility still fresh following its various other accomplishments, Kevin Knowles, business development chief, said Mountaineer Recovery Center is expanding and meeting its goals far more quickly than originally anticipated, turning what was originally a five-year plan into more of a two-and-a-half-year plan and making the center’s recovery village a reality for the near future.

This recovery village would include residences for families of various shapes and sizes, community centers, a day care center and more so the center can offer true continuum care to all of its patients in whatever stage of their lives they might be in.

“We’ve expanded so much, so far that even the recovery village we dreamed about completing toward the end of our five-year plan is coming to fruition,” Knowles said. “We already have our eyes on a piece of property and have been talking to state and federal legislators to find private public partnerships we might be able to make to help really make that happen. With all we have accomplished so far, our five-year plan turned into a two-and-a-half-year plan, and we are still moving forward and beyond that rapidly because of the need.”

Knowles noted that overdoses and overdose deaths have increased nationwide since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and emphasized how important the center’s aggressive work toward expansion is in helping to bring those numbers back down.

“We don’t want people to forget that we have an epidemic here in West Virginia, too,” Knowles said. “We want to share that hope. We are moving forward with all of our plans, and any obstacles we find, we always find ways through or around to make it work. We’ve been very fortunate from the very beginning, and we are very proud of our staff who continue to work through all of this.”

As previously reported, plans for the women’s facility were announced in the very last half of 2019, when Knowles shared the center had received an additional $3 million grant to build the women’s in-patient facility.

After opening the main Mountaineer Recovery Center campus in 2019, the administration applied for a grant from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services’ Ryan Brown Grant Fund and was awarded $3 million for this project, the release explained.

According to Knowles, working with local construction firm Minghini’s General Contractors, Inc., the project experienced slight delays as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but is now back to meeting project timelines with targeted completion in Fall 2021.

For more information about Mountaineer Recovery center, visit mountaineerrecovery.com