ADRS breaks ground on new location in Gadsden

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By Lindsey Frazier, Editorial Assistant

The expansion of Gadsden State’s Adult Learning program left Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) in Gadsden without a building to operate out of.

Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority Executive Director David Hooks and his staff were able to come up with a creative solution to fund a new property.

“I said to [Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford] and the [Gadsden City] council, if this were an industry we were recruiting, we would be doing back flips to figure out how to get them into Gadsden,” said Hooks. “There are 40 jobs that pay an average of 60 thousand a year. It’s a great business and we don’t need them to go away.”

Restructuring of the financing took nearly a year, according to Hooks. The collaboration of the City of Gadsden, Public Building Authority, ADRS and Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority was essential for this project to come to fruition.

David Hooks

The new facility will be 22,852 square feet, nearly twice the size of the building at Gadsden State.

“It’s expanding the service area,” said Hooks. “It’s not just for Etowah County, it’s for a six-county area that surrounds us.”

ADRS Commissioner Jane Burdeshaw said in a statement on the ADRS website that they had outgrown their current space, and the new building is designed to meet the needs of the disability community in the Gadsden and Northeast Alabama.

“This complex serves approximately 3400 children and families in your community every year: children with special healthcare needs; families who find out their child has a diagnosis that’s going to lead to some developmental delays; young people who are trying to exit high school who have some challenges but want to work; adults who want to live not in nursing homes but their communities and with their families,” said Burdeshaw.

According to ADRS website, the project is a $4.8 million investment that will equip ADRS employees with a cutting-edge facility.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Wednesday, June 26, for the new facility in the 200 block of East Broad Street in Gadsden.

The building’s design is intended to meet the need for those with disabilities and will include staff offices, nurses’ areas, facilities for physical therapy, feeding clinic, orthotics, audiology suites, exam rooms and a nutrition area, according to a Facebook post made about the groundbreaking.

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