Coleman raising funds for new $1.7 million children’s center

Grace Murray

Coleman Professional Services, a Kent-based behavioral health and rehabilitation center, is preparing to expand this year with a $1.7 million children’s facility.

The nonprofit plans to attach the new 10,000-square-foot Center of Excellence for Children onto its current building at 5982 Rhodes Road by the end of the year, said Kathy Myers, Coleman’s director of public relations and marketing.

The goal of the new facility is to expand the number of services Coleman offers to its young patients, Myers said.

“We’re looking to treat the children more collaboratively — psychiatry, nursing, counseling, case management — all under one roof with a more interdisciplinary approach,” Myers said. “The overall hope and plan is to be able to work collaboratively with a pediatrician so we can be providing physical help for children as well.”

However, this doesn’t mean there will likely be a number of new jobs on the market.

Myers said Coleman would primarily be using the same staff it already has, with the exception of a possible new pediatrician.

According to Joel Mowrey, executive director of the county’s Mental Health and Recovery Board, Coleman works closely with the board, which supplies those looking for assistance with the phone number of its contract agencies — Coleman, Family and Community Services, Children’s Advantage and Townhall II.

Mowrey said despite the number of contract agencies, referrals for children can only be sent to Coleman or Children’s Advantage in Ravenna, making the new Center of Excellence for Children a step in the right direction.

“The current building environment at Coleman is really set up for adults and for people in crisis, not set up for families and children just seeking ongoing treatment services,” Mowrey said in an email.

During the last fiscal year — July 2012 to June 2013 — the Portage County Mental Health and Recovery Board saw 1,914 children on Medicaid and 292 supported by board levy funds, Mowrey said. Additionally, 392 children were seen in schools through a board contract with Children’s Advantage.

Coleman treats approximately 1,200 children in Portage County with mental- health issues in its three locations, most of which are located in Ravenna, Myers said.

As a result, Mowrey said the board sees the new children’s center “as a positive for families in Portage County.”

Myers said Coleman is doing everything it can to keep progression, noting that the company has already received $500,000 in private donations to support the build.

Coleman Executive Director Bill Childers said he hopes to see that level of funding continue to grow.

“We’ve had a lot of people support Coleman from their own personal resources,” Childers said. “That said, Coleman is committed to completing this project. We obviously want to maximize the philanthropic area of support, but if we don’t get it all, we’re willing to take on debt to make it happen.”

Childers said Coleman plans to complete fundraising by April 30, as groundbreaking will commence this spring followed by occupation of the new building by early 2015.

For those looking to donate, Childers said anyone interested can contact him via phone at (330) 676-8016 or by email at [email protected].

Contact Grace Murray at [email protected].