Original Article By: Kelly Fisher, The Tennessean | Published: April 27, 2018
Cumberland Heights, a nonprofit addiction treatment organization, broke ground on its second campus in Cheatham County on Thursday afternoon.
The upcoming facility will be used for addiction recovery in teen boys aged 14 through 18.
The 67-acre site in Pegram, once home to a bed and breakfast, will become ARCH Academy, or Adolescent Recovery of Cumberland Heights , at 1062 Highway 70.Cumberland Heights also treats drug and alcohol addiction in adult men and women on its campus at 8283 River Road Pike in Nashville.The total cost of the project is estimated at $8.1 million, including the purchase of the property, construction, renovation, infrastructure and other costs, according to information from Cumberland Heights.
Cumberland Heights Chief Executive Officer Jay Crosson said with three new builds and three renovations of current structures on the Cheatham site, the goal is to open the ARCH Academy by summer 2019.
In its first year, the new campus is expected to serve 84 teens, according to information from Cumberland Heights.
The site will include two residence halls, a dining facility, a private high school and more. The campus and adolescent program staff will offer 12-step recovery, clinical therapy and other services.
The location is also an “ideal environment” for hiking, mountain biking and trail rides, as well as engaging in fishing, pottery, service work and more in Pegram, a Cumberland Heights news release states.
“When you work with adolescents, they don’t respond to typical therapy, sitting across from them and just talking; you have to engage them,” Adolescent Program Director Dean Porterfield said. “You have to get them thinking, and this environment’s going to be perfect for that…It’s exciting. (It’ll) save lives.”
Crosson said the plan to open the new facility has been in the works since 2015 with plans to use it for the adolescent program, which initially launched in 1985. Since then, he said that teens accounted for approximately 10 percent of the Cumberland Heights population.
The new location will allow a length of stay of 60 days to six months; the current adolescent program only lasts up to 30 days with some extended care options, according to Cumberland Heights’ website.
ARCH Academy will also increase capacity to 30 teens from about 17 at its main campus.
Crosson said he wanted to be “good neighbors” to Cheatham, and Porterfield expressed interest in community involvement, noting that service is emphasized to those in the program.
“We want to be part of the community, (and) we want to be a resource for the community,” Porterfield said. “We also want to do our part to prevent adolescents from needing to come here, if we can do that.
“We’re just as much about prevention as we are (about) treating the kids that unfortunately have suffered from the disease of addiction.”
Matt Norton, an alumnus of Cumberland Heights, drove from Atlanta to Pegram to be part of the groundbreaking Thursday.
“I don’t think I’d be breathing if it wasn’t for Cumberland Heights and Dean (Porterfield),” he said. “I’m grateful for this place and I think the things that they’re doing is remarkable.”
Norton was 16 when he arrived at Cumberland Heights in 2012 to confront his addiction. He recalled first using drugs at 12 years old, and the problem continued until he overdosed in October 2012.
After that, he agreed to seek treatment.
“When I was at Cumberland Heights, I was really able to find myself as a person,” Norton said. “They equipped me with the tools to do the right things when I got out in order to be a part of society and not only be sober, but be a better man.”
Norton completed the program at Cumberland Heights and returned home, graduated high school, got accepted into college and landed a job.
He said he owes all of that to his treatment at Cumberland Heights. He’s hopeful that the staff and the new campus will change lives for others struggling with addiction.
“Without it, many young people (might not) be here,” Porterfield said of the adolescent program and ARCH Academy. “I think it’s important that we have a place to be able to just pull them away from the day-to-day stressors, and help them to get to know themselves and set them on a track…There’s nothing better. We save lives.”