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Relocated Rosecrance Ware Center a bigger home for adult mental health services

Modern facility nearly doubles the space for clients, staff and programming

Rosecrance has transformed a long-vacant grocery store along the North Main Street corridor into a modern new home for the Ware Center, where staff provides and adult clients receive outpatient mental health services.

Clients will start using the new Ware Center, 2704 N. Main St., next week. Programs are relocating just a few miles north from the existing Ware Center at 526 W. State St. Community members, neighbors and local officials toured the facility during an open house today.

The State Street location was the longtime home of the Janet Wattles Center, which merged with Rosecrance in 2011. Rosecrance President/CEO Philip Eaton said that while a building is just a starting place, more than 100 competent, motivated staff members are moving in to provide necessary services to a vulnerable population.

“I believe this move of our adult mental health services is an additional step in our plan to chart a new path for some of the neediest individuals in our community,” Eaton said. “It demonstrates the commitment our organization has to serve adults, families, young adults and children who struggle with serious mental illness.

“These are our neighbors. These are Rockford citizens. This is going to provide infrastructure to help these people grow in recovery and to heal mind, body and spirit.”

Rosecrance has committed about $10 million during the last year to improving vacant, derelict properties. In October, the Rosecrance Mulberry Center opened in a renovated space to provide triage and crisis residential services together under one roof for people experiencing psychiatric crises. The Ware Center is Rosecrance’s second building on the city’s west side.

“The space will brighten that whole North Main corridor,” Eaton said. “The lights will be on, the windows washed, the parking lot plowed, the grass mowed and the flowers planted. And in true Rosecrance tradition, Christmas lights will hang for the holidays.”

The 42,000-square-foot building features a spacious waiting area, staff offices, group meeting rooms, a pharmacy and exam rooms. It is decorated with tones of green, tan and blue that help warmly welcome visitors.

The Recovery Resource Center, an interactive space where clients can mingle, socialize and work with staff, has its own entrance just past the front desk.

Another signature component of the new space is a chapel because “spirituality is at the core of recovery,” Eaton said.

Substance abuse programs previously offered at Rosecrance’s River District and Court Street sites also will relocate to the new Ware Center, as will some youth programming and adult substance abuse outpatient services.

“We want clients to be able to come to any door and say, ‘Here’s what’s going on with me,’ which is the philosophy of the no wrong-door approach,” said Anne Fridh, administrator of the Ware Center.

Rosecrance did a nationwide search for architects and landed on Rockford-based Saavedra Gehlhausen Architects as the lead and partner Eckenhoff Saunders Architects in Chicago. Both firms had previous experience in health care design. Cord Construction Co. was the general contractor.

A big plus for the space will be ample parking for clients and staff. The existing Ware Center has mostly street parking and very few spaces for employees.

Eaton said Rosecrance has received a resounding warm welcome from the North Main Street corridor neighbors. People have called and sent emails welcoming the organization to the neighborhood.


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