Oaklawn hosts ribbon-cutting for new building

Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 11:19 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - A big-time healthcare agency gets a brand-new building.

City officials and business leaders gathered at Oaklawn Friday night for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The newly renovated, 60,000-square-foot building, is a “one-stop-shop” offering mental health, substance abuse and health care services.

“We know that this is part of health care. We need to make sure that the whole person is healthy and making sure that people have the resources and access to the services to get the help they need. That’s critical and we are so thankful for Oaklawn,” said South Bend Mayor James Mueller.

There are also new programs, such as homeless outreach and open access, which allow patients to walk in for services.

“I mean even today when we were setting up our clients were coming up and saying, ‘What are you guys doing?’ We are having a ribbon cutting to celebrate. They are like ‘This new building is beautiful. It’s welcoming and it’s warm. It’s someplace we want to come for services.’ And that was really our biggest goal was that people feel safe and welcome when they come in,” said Kari Tarman, who is the Executive Director for the Oaklawn Foundation.

The crisis center will still be across the street, but patients can come to this building for additional services.

“If somebody comes to the crisis response center that’s 24.7 care, they might need outpatient. So, if somebody can wait there and be safe then wait for our clinic to open at 8 a.m. and then be transferred over here to either meet with a therapist or psychiatrist depending on need,” Tarman said.

The new building comes with a $17 million price tag.

“So, that’s us investing in ourselves and in our clients and saying this is how we want to spend our money, and we have also had great donors step up to help us make this happen too,” Tarman said.

“To have Oaklawn be able to have these new resources and be able to have them available to our residents is critical because they need these services in order to thrive,” Mueller said.