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Agency moving to senior center

Jan. 31, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

SYBENE, Ohio -- The Lawrence County Department of Developmental Disabilities is moving its day habitation programs for adults from Coal Grove to the former senior center off County Road 1 in the Sybene area starting Feb. 4, said Paul Mollett, superintendent of the county's developmental disabilities program.

"We're moving about half our staff and half our clients from Tri-State to the new site," Mollett said. "The program has grown significantly. We're moving between 75 and 100 consumers and about 20 staff.

"We're lucky to get the building," he said. "The space is conducive to our programming. I'm excited about the move. This will give us an increased presence in Eastern Lawrence County."

The department serves more than 500 clients and has a $6.5 million budget. The department has operations at the Open Door School in Ironton, Tri-State Industries at Coal Grove and the Early Childhood Center in the South Point area.

Thanks to a 99-year lease with the Ironton-Lawrence County Area Community Action Organization at $1 per year, the department now will have programs at the fourth building. The Community Action Organization invited the Department of Developmental Disabilities to take over the building after state and federal budget cuts forced the organization to shut down senior services at the site.

The commercial kitchen at the building will continue to operate, Mollett said.

Adult daily living opportunities, including self-help skills such as cooking and hygiene, will now be the focus of the department's operations at the site from Monday through Friday, he said. "There will be no work opportunities at the site," he said. Those operations will remain at the Tri-State Industries building in Coal Grove, he said.

Most of the clients in the adult day hab itation program will arrive at the site by bus, he said.

"This is a phased transition," Mollett said. "Change is difficult. We'll have programming on the first and second floor of the building. Safety and health are our No. 1 priority."

An open house at the site is being planned for late February, Mollett said.