While New Beginnings, Inc's primary focus for the past 30 years has been on housing, Shara Gonalez, executive director of New Beginnings, said she’s been working with others to bring a detox center to Hutchinson since 1998. Gonzales noted that Meadowlark Commons was repurposed in 2004 from a former hotel into transitional and emergency housing using 15-year tax credits. As those tax credits expire on Dec. 31, the agency will own the buildings free and clear, enabling it to modify its use. “It made so much sense that it becomes a detox center,” Gonzales said. “It’s centrally located and has got a drive-through.”
New Beginnings will be partnering with the Substance Abuse Center of Kansas, or SACK, to provide services. That agency has had an office at New Beginnings for 14 years and operates the 14-bed Recovery Center in Wichita. “In order to do it, there are adaptations that need to happen to the building to make it licensable for a treatment facility,” Gonzales said. “That’s part of why we were waiting to say anything, to get some ideas of what that would look like. At this point, it’s about $200,000. That’s money we have to find to be able to make this into a detox and treatment facility. ”When they originally converted the building into emergency and transitional housing, it was grandfathered in so fire sprinklers didn’t have to be added. With the change in use, however, now a system will be required. That will account for about half the remodeling cost, Gonzales said.
Another need will be drilling wells and installing pumps to deal with persistent under-flooding from the high water table created by last year’s floods.