Serenity Place, a Dover based substance abuse treatment facility for men, suffered a fire on June 7 of 2011. The blaze, which the fire marshal’s office ruled had been caused by a cigarette being tossed into mulch around the front of the building, destroyed the house that the facility called home. After losing everything Serenity Place began the long road to re-building. Before breaking ground in February the property had to be re-zoned, acquire a waiver for off street parking from the board of adjustment and submit the site plans for the project to the city. Serenity Place had finally begun their journey toward a fresh start.
WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW
Ground was broken for the new facility in February, but the new steel frames that make up the bones of the building didn’t begin going up until late August. Originally the project was slated to be complete this fall, but according to Troy Sylvester, Superintendent of Advanced Construction ̶ the company that is doing the construction, that time line no longer applies.
“The weather killed us as far as start time,” Sylvester said. “With all the rain we went for almost two to three months where my guys were only able to work two days a week.”
Sylvester said that the project will take an estimated six months to complete, meaning that Serenity Place won’t be looking at a finished structure until early 2014.
Once the structure is complete it will look quite different from the previous facility. Serenity Place is upgrading from a traditional single family home, with lots of small separated rooms to a space that has been specifically designed to fit their purpose.
The new building will have the capacity for 18 beds upstairs, double that of the old building. There will also be a dormitory style bath room upstairs. Downstairs there will be space for counseling offices, a conference room, a lounge and an updated laundry and kitchen.
The facility is also being made more efficient with the help of modern appliances and building materials, said William Boyles, executive director of Serenity Place.
“The materials we are using are up to date from an energy stand point,” Boyles said. “They’re more efficient so we will spend less in heating and cooling. The appliances are new and highly efficient, so we are not running old non-efficient air-conditioning and things like that.”
The new building materials cut down on heating and cooling costs but they will also give those at Serenity Place peace of mind that the past will not repeat itself, Sylvester said.
“The only thing in this building that could catch on fire is contents that they put in it,” he said. “They won’t have to worry about fire. They’ve got metal frames, concrete floors and metal doors, all commercial grade.”