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Marlowe House (Rosecrance Health Network) Rockford, Illinois

May 1, 2010
by root
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The residences that make up Rosecrance Health Network's Monarch Recovery Homes had traditionally been mansion-style homes acquired for use as an aftercare setting. Of course, those types of projects can bring on challenges, from location concerns to worries that the old plumbing might not be able to accommodate a quadrupling of the house's population.

Rosecrance erased some of those anxieties and worries in deciding to relocate its recovery home for adolescent girls onto its main adolescent campus and to construct a new home on the site. The prairie-style Marlowe House offers its residents some modern conveniences along with access to calming features on the Rosecrance main campus, all while providing enough separation from other activity to convey a safe environment for the girls. That is an important consideration as these young people remain in an early and somewhat precarious stage of their recovery.

“These girls need a safe environment to be able to talk about the triggers that take place,” says Denita Lynde, director of the Monarch programs. “Recovery is supposed to get easier, but it is actually easier to keep people clean in an inpatient setting.”

The young women, ages 15 to 19, stay at least 90 days at Marlowe House after having completed primary inpatient treatment or intensive outpatient treatment. The house has five bedrooms, each with its own private bath, and a total capacity of 14. Lynde says the residents are surprised by the comfortable surroundings when they enter the program; many hear beforehand that sober homes tend to be located in older sections of a community. They are expected to maintain that appearance of a comfortable environment, Lynde insists.

“They are expected to participate in the upkeep,” she says. “Recovery starts with self-care. To have a good foundation in recovery, you need to take care of what's around you.” She adds, “We focus on the need to give back.”

The fully equipped kitchen becomes a locus of activity at the house, and the installation of two of most of the major appliances allows the program to conduct formalized life skills activities in the kitchen.

As Rosecrance mapped out the construction project, it paid attention to details involving physical accommodation and environmental awareness. One bedroom was situated on the main floor of the two-story house in order to accommodate future residents' mobility-related needs, says Brad Carlson, Rosecrance's director of facilities.

Planners also opted to install bamboo flooring and energy-efficient lighting. “We were trying to be green but still have a home-like setting,” Carlson says. A local design firm in the Rockford area, Larson and Darby Group, assisted Rosecrance with the Marlowe House project, including with the identification of sources of durable but attractive furniture.

Marlowe House has become an effective complement to the Monarch Recovery Homes' site for adolescent boys, the restored Hillman House site located on the east side of Rockford. That renovation project took place in 2009.

With the girls on the Rosecrance adolescent campus, they are able to enjoy some of the more soothing features of the campus setting, such as the serenity garden built on six acres and featuring natural stone waterfalls and ponds filled with colorful koi and other fish. “They can go down the nearby pathways, and woods separate their house from the main building on campus,” Carlson adds. Addiction Professional 2010 May-June;8(3):40-42