Transformation complete: Atwood Resort becomes The Bluffs

By Nancy Schaar
FPS Correspondent

New signage at the entrance welcomes patients and guests to The Bluffs, formerly known as Atwood Lake Resort and Conference Center.

DELLROY – The former Atwood Lodge Resort has new signs, new employees and a new life in Carroll County as The Bluffs. The Bluffs will be a branch of the national organization known as Addiction Campuses.

“The Bluffs, a new 80 acre property is set to become a state of the art clinical environment featuring all levels of innovative addiction treatment therapy,” stated Director of Public Relations Brian Sullivan.

Construction and remodeling work was completed by Benchmark Construction of New Philadelphia. New signs were installed along State Route 542. The largest part of the project was to install a new sprinkler system, which is complete.

The campus is slated to be open and fully operational by late September. A grand opening, which will be open to the public, is set for Wednesday, Sept. 17. At the open house, there is an event surprise planned for anyone attending from the area.

Patients are not being accepted at this time, but Sullivan believes patients will begin arriving in October and they plan to help as many people as they can. Reservations cannot be placed until the Certificate of Occupancy has been granted and that cannot take place until all renovations have been completed and inspected.

Addiction Campuses CEO Brent Clemens said he is very happy with this project and how well it is moving along.

Nearly 500 people in the state of Ohio died of an opioid overdose in 2005. In 2015 that number was over three thousand,” said Addiction Campuses CMO Eric Mitchell.   Mitchell continued to say that at least 4,149 Ohioans died from unintentional drug overdoses in 2016.

“Ohio can’t wait. That’s why we want to begin serving the people of Carroll County, the state of Ohio and the entire country as soon as possible,” said Mitchell.

The new chief executive officer of The Bluffs is Dr. Richard Foster. Foster comes from Gateway Rehab where he administered operations of more than 20 addiction treatment programs covering all levels of care. He is President of the Pennsylvania Certification Board. He was born in Pittsburgh and loves sports, fitness and cooking.

Foster brings with him 25 years of experience in behavioral health, predominately drug and alcohol treatment. He received a BA in Sociology, a Masters in Human Services, and a PhD in Administration from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

“We have daily operations meetings every morning with the facility staff to discuss progress and goals for the day. I also meet with the Leadership Team every morning to check in with them and get progress on their specific departments,” stated Foster.

When asked what he thought of the facility, the view, and the area, Foster said the facility is stunning and the views are breathtaking. Foster believes the backdrop of the lake and the 80 acres will be very beneficial to all clients.

“The location will definitely be a benefit. This type of environment allows clients to begin the recovery process in a safe, private, and therapeutic setting with no distractions. Many staff members have visited local stores and restaurants and have had nothing but positive experiences. I love the area and am getting to know it more every day,” continued Foster.

Krista Sweet has been selected as the new market director for the Bluffs. She has more than ten years experience in addiction treatment and has spent most of her career as a therapist at an outpatient program near Pittsburgh. She is a certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor.

Amanda Pearson of Malvern has been named human resource/office manager. Pearson has a background in employee relations and a passion to help others.

Tila Miller will serve as director of nursing. After becoming a registered nurse, she turned her passion for nursing to helping underserved populations in Ohio. After seeing the effect of addiction on family members, her focus was shifted into recovery from alcohol and other drugs. Miller also resides in Carroll County.

Director of Operations Greg Eger comes to The Bluffs after serving as a behavioral health technician and more than ten years specializing in substance abuse, psychiatric and dual diagnosis centers. He has continued education in operations, project management, and Six Sigma methodology.

He has much experience in developing and maintaining start up facilities ranging from 80-to-160-bed capacity.

Local resident John Shaffer joins the group as a therapist. Shaffer is a licensed professional clinical counselor and has served the Carroll County area on the ADAMHS Board of Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties. He has also taught classes at Stark State College.

A transport manager, two case managers, a clinical director, housekeeping supervisor and four registered nurses have also been hired and are ready to go.

The Bluffs assists clients with establishing a balanced life. A new client is connected with the medical and nursing staff. They are provided with medications to assist their recovery and are provided with well-balanced meal plans. There are daily structured treatment schedules and ongoing evaluations. Counseling, educational programs, and recreation are all part of the treatment plan at Addiction Campuses.

Foster said clients will take advantage of two swimming pools, fitness center, yoga classes, art therapy, outdoor volleyball and more. One room will be featured as Inspirations Lounge. It has a fireplace and overlooks an outside patio. Tranquility room will also be featured. The room offers the best view and overlooks the landscape with Atwood Lake in the background, according to Foster.

Foster said they will begin taking clients slowly this fall and will build to full capacity but it will be done carefully.

Foster is looking forward to seeing the new campus develop and provide much needed help and healing for clients who are seeking a change to their lives at The Bluffs.

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