Construction Zone: Amberwing expected to open in SeptemberAmberwing Center for Youth & Family Well-Being is a new mental health and wellness center for children, teens and young adults and their families.
By: Candace Renalls, Duluth News Tribune
What: Amberwing Center for Youth & Family Well-Being
Where: Rice Lake Road and Pecan Avenue in Duluth Heights
Project: Construction of a new mental health and wellness center for children, teens and young adults and their families.
Purpose: The new center will treat mental illness and substance abuse issues in children and young adults up to age 25 in a safe, comfortable setting. Intensive daily outpatient therapy will be used to keep problems from escalating to the point where residential treatment or hospitalization is needed.
“Part of the goal is prevention,” said Patricia Burns, president of the Miller-Dwan Foundation. “It’s to help them get well. And to help parents who are desperately looking for help.”
Why it’s needed: State statistics show that suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds and that one in five Minnesota children suffer with a serious diagnosable mental disorder, behavioral or emotional problems.
“It’s a significant health issue and one we’re very quiet about as a community,” Burns said. “The stigma attached often keeps people from getting the help they need. For every child who rises to the top, there’s a whole level of young people who are just crying for help. Mental and emotional pain has been labeled the No. 1 barrier to education on a national level.”
So the need is there for a resource and outpatient treatment center. But the current day program at Essentia Health Duluth, formerly known as Miller-Dwan Medical Center, can only treat up to 13 youths a day. And it’s always full with a waiting list, Burns said.
Amberwing, which will be run by Essentia Health, will be able to take up to
60 children and teens during its daytime programs. In addition, an evening
program will treat young adults.
Size: The two-story structure will be nearly 26,000 square feet and have three wings that will separate the elementary-age children from those in middle school and in high school.
Contractor: Johnson-Wilson Constructors, Duluth
Architect: John Ivey Thomas and Associates, Duluth
Interior design: Suzi Vandersteen of Kitchee Gammi Design Co., Duluth
Finished look: In a move away from clinical settings, the lodge-style building, nestled into woods, will have a comfortable, home-like feel to encourage the healing process.
“We want it to break the stigma of going to a hospital to get mental health care,” Burns said. “It will be a warm, friendly, beautiful space that lifts your spirits. We want it to be an inspired space that helps people heal and look inside themselves and do the work they need to do.”
Cost: $6 million
Financing: So far, $5.8 million has been raised by the Miller-Dwan Foundation to pay for the project. Most has come from individual and corporate donations.
Timeline: Construction began in September and should be completed in August. The center should be up and running in September.
Status: The building is in place and framed in with windows, roof and insulation installed. Most utilities are in place. Finishing work is going on inside and out.
Jobs: Twenty-eight jobs will be created, ranging from professional staff to groundskeepers, once Amberwing is operating at its full level; it’ll start out with half that level, Burns said.