In December 2020, Indianapolis opened the Assessment + Intervention Center (AIC) on the Community Justice Campus (CJC), the first of its kind in the nation. This is the first building to open at the CJC and is the start of fulfilling the city's Mission to "Bring a modern and holistic, data-driven approach to the Indianapolis justice system."
Run by the Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center (MHC), the AIC houses services recently provided by the Reuben Engagement Center. The new facility comprises two floors. The first floor is 20,000 square feet, housing outpatient services, and emergency medical services support, and the second floor is approximately 17,000 square feet, including two 30-bed dormitories.
The Reuben Engagement Center overview, according to Jim Richter, director of clinical services for Sandra Eskenazi MHC, provides shelter, case management, withdrawal management, and housing referrals to individuals experiencing homelessness who have substance abuse disorder and/or mental health diagnoses. The Reuben Engagement Center became part of Sandra Eskenazi MHC in 2020 when they took over Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services (IEMS) services.
The AIC provides pre-arrest diversion as the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) takes low-level, non-violent offenders to the AIC to determine if they struggle with addiction or mental illnesses, diverting them from jail or an emergency department. In addition, anyone in the community will be able to walk into the AIC, receive treatment, and create a recovery path.
Unlike the Reuben Engagement Center, the AIC has clinicians, nurses/paramedics, case managers, and peer recovery coaches on-site to provide a holistic assessment that will improve patient outcomes. This support offers a clear continuum of medical and mental health care for those who need help. Implementing a holistic plan focused on recovery and wellness accompanies the city's goals in reducing recidivism, decreasing the resources being spent on jailing, and addressing the root causes of crime and violence when what is needed is treatment and recovery.
The two-story building separates those living in the dormitory from the assessment and clinical space. Individuals will typically stay at the AIC for 3-4 days while being connected with social service agencies. Jim Richter noted one of his favorite features of the AIC is the abundance of natural light, which offers significant benefits, and the open spaces support holistic healing.
The design of the project was a true collaboration. The project team consisted of four local Indianapolis firms. Minority-owned design firm, HCO, Inc., oversaw the design team and was responsible for the building's interior. Guidon Design, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business, provided planning and programming, led exterior design through schematic design, provided structural and civil engineering and interior design services. KBSO Consulting performed MEP engineering services. F.A. Wilhelm Construction Co. built the Assessment + Intervention Center, the first LEED certified building owned by the City of Indianapolis.
The Twin Aire neighborhood played a crucial role in the design of the facility. As a two-story structure, the building was designed to connect the neighborhood to the Pleasant Run Parkway and Creek. Luke Leising, lead exterior architect at Guidon Design, stated the building succeeded with two key features. The design implemented on the west side entry elevation of the building incorporates a wood representation of the creek as it runs through the City of Indianapolis. Represented on the east side of the building will be a large space for local art installations. This wall will allow revolving art from the community to celebrate its history. Tying it all back together, this side of the building faces the new bridge which connects the building to the neighborhood. Luke noted that when they presented the final design scheme to the neighborhood, hearing their acceptance and being told they "felt listened to" was a very proud moment for him.
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