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Project Turnabout planning $5 million expansion

Project Turnabout is planning an estimated, $5 million expansion to its residential facility on the western edge of Granite Falls. This photo shows the campus following a $5.9 million reconstruction project in the wake of the tornado that struck in 2000. Submitted

Just after completing inpatient treatment last week, a young woman had this to tell Mike Schiks: " ' I wish I'd have come here sooner. I didn't know that I would learn to laugh again.'

And what's that worth? A lot to me,'' said Schiks, CEO of Project Turnabout.

GRANITE FALLS -- Project Turnabout plans to break ground this September on an estimated $5 million expansion to its residential treatment campus on the western edge of Granite Falls, according to Mike Schiks, CEO.

The facility will expand from 89 beds to 122 beds, and in so doing remain one of Minnesota's largest free-standing centers offering residential treatment for substance abuse and problem gambling.

The expansion will focus on meeting the growing demand for substance abuse treatment, according to Shicks.

Project Turnabout has seen steady growth in demand since it completed a $5.9 million renovation following the July 2000 tornado that had extensively damaged the campus.

The expansion project will replace an existing women's 20-bed unit with a 27-bed unit. It will add a third 20-bed unit for men.

The Project Vanguard 20-bed unit will remain unchanged.

The number of medical beds will be increased by six to a total of 15. Along with a growing need for its detoxification care, the facility is seeing more patients arrive with medical and mental health issues, noted Schiks.

Project Turnabout currently has a staff of 101 at the site, and will likely add 15 to 20 new positions as a result of the expansion. It has a total staff of 136 including its outpatient centers.

Project Turnabout offers outpatient services based from facilities in Willmar, Redwood Falls and Marshall. The outpatient programs annually serve roughly the same number of patients as does the in-patient center, according to Schiks.

Project Turnabout has been offering chemical dependency treatment services for 43 years. Schiks said it has built a reputation for providing quality, affordable care.

It's also well-known as a residential facility for rural residents. It serves patients with addresses in 50, largely rural counties in Minnesota.

Opened in 1991, Project Vanguard is a nationally recognized program for problem gamblers. It primarily serves problem gamblers from Minnesota, but many clients come from across the country. Project Vanguard has a contract with the state of Washington to treat problem gamblers.

Schiks said the challenge of meeting the steadily growing demand for inpatient, substance abuse care led the board of directors to opt for the expansion, despite the investment it will require. "We have to find a way to help these people,'' he said board members decided.

Engan Associates of Willmar is the project architect.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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