When leaders at the Fairbanks addiction services organization in Indianapolis rewrote their mission statement at the start of the decade to emphasize recovery over treatment, the concept of a building that would reflect “community” was born. Every detail of the gleaming Fairbanks Recovery Center speaks to a welcoming atmosphere and the boundless potential of recovery, from the massive windows through which light pours in to the circular design that doesn't isolate the center's users from one another.
“The circular design is critical,” says Robin Parsons, Fairbanks' director of adult services. “There are so many things going on over there, but it's difficult to get lost.”
In many respects, the recovery center represents the day to the older Fairbanks inpatient facility's night. The newer and more traditional looks parallel the activities taking place at these two sites on the Fairbanks campus. CEO Helene Cross says many patients remark when they progress from inpatient treatment to recovery-based services that the high-ceiling spaces in the recovery center remind them of their freedom from addiction.
The 34,000-square-foot, cross-functional recovery center houses a variety of outpatient facilities, including group rooms, a Serenity Room where holistic services such as meditation and Reiki are offered, an art room, and a coffee shop that functions as much more than a site for ordering a morning brew. Staffed by alumni who have achieved at least six months of sobriety, the coffee shop has become an ideal location for individuals to meet with their sponsors. It is open for extended hours on weekdays and serves as a meeting place for the larger recovering community, not limited just to those who have received services at Fairbanks.
For individuals newly in recovery, the center's outpatient activities and other amenities serve as a reminder of the good things that lie ahead for them. “They see what's coming up for them next, and they realize this is there for them,” Parsons says.
While the center offers an intermingling of functions, it is also designed to reinforce separation where necessary. The first floor is devoted to adult services, while adolescents occupy the secure second floor where students in Fairbanks' Hope Academy high school program are housed during the day and where an adolescent intensive outpatient program is conducted in a center space in the evenings. Keycard entry is required to access the Hope Academy classrooms.
The good acoustics in the building's atrium have made it an ideal setting for program graduations and other community activities. In order to cut down on some of the echoing in the open environment, Fairbanks installed soundboards in key locations. Recovery dances and social events for adults and adolescents also have been held at the recovery center.
The atrium's signature feature is a striking sculpture consisting of five dichroic glass rings supported on stainless steel cables. The rings represent the five values that are considered Fairbanks' unwavering principles: serenity, courage, wisdom, hope, and trust.
Clinical staff in the outpatient programs housed at the recovery center have seen quite a different experience from that of the inpatient building on campus. Most of the counselors' offices in the newer building have windows, and new staff members don't get lost in a maze when trying to familiarize themselves with the surroundings. Everything at the recovery center exudes the positive, including the five “value words” emblazoned in large letters on the walls. “Anywhere you look, you're reminded of what you're here for,” says Ty Lynch, Fairbanks' communications coordinator.
Addiction Professional 2009 November-December;7(6):35-36