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A facility design that fits its surroundings

June 20, 2014
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Environments for Recovery
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Owners of The Oxford Centre in Lafayette County, Miss., in 2012 breathed new life into an addiction treatment campus that had managed to stay open for less than a year under its previous ownership. In turning around the operation, the new owners were blessed with having acquired the aesthetic of a 110-acre wooded property in the area of the Holly Springs National Forest, as well as benefiting from previously completed renovations that allowed them to focus on improving the business side of the facility.

What present management has done from a design perspective has largely involved adding touches that more closely match the facility's larger surroundings. “We wanted to have a state park lodge kind of look, with a lot of exposed wood and natural stone,” says Thomas Fowlkes, MD, The Oxford Centre's chief medical officer. “We wanted to have something that looks like it belongs in Mississippi.”

The Oxford Centre operates 12 medical services/detox beds and 40 residential beds at its main campus in Etta, and two 12-bed recovery residences in Oxford. It places much emphasis in its programming on the treatment of opioid addiction. Patients in primary treatment receive significant exposure to the outdoors and experiential therapies, but they are eased into this when they arrive at the detox stage.

“In detox we give a serene, calming environment,” Fowlkes says. “The detox facility has a screened porch where patients can enjoy the fresh air. Once they're out of the medical services building, they are incorporated into experiential therapies right away.”

The program offers numerous options for individuals to take advantage of the surrounding environment. Equine therapy and a ropes course are included in the on-site amenities. Wildlife such as deer, turkeys and rabbits roam the grounds, and a pavilion with a fireplace sits near a lake, inviting groups to gather or individuals to contemplate quietly or spend some time fishing. The facility's dining room overlooks park land.

Walking trails and an athletic complex with an outdoor court area also are available to patients. “Only in a quiet, safe sanctuary such as this can the healing truly begin,” the center website reads.

Fowlkes says that while the program encourages patients to pursue the therapeutic activities that appeal most to them, it also seeks to get all patients to participate in the core activities, such as equine therapy.

Two patients share each room in the treatment facility and have their own bathroom. The program treats adult men and women (with typically an average age range in the 30s), and around 80% of program revenues are from private insurance, with the rest self-pay.

The former owners of the facility, which was in foreclosure for several years prior to 2011 when the purchase occurred, had opted for more of a New Orleans-like look featuring high-end furnishings. The present ownership has softened the approach somewhat.

“Our campus and natural environment allows for healing to occur in body, mind and spirit,” says CEO Billy Young, who formerly held top administrative positions at Pine Grove and Remuda Ranch.

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