The Hughes Center breaks ground on new facility in Danville

Published: May. 31, 2022 at 5:04 PM EDT
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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Construction is starting on a new facility to help children and teens with autism and intellectual disabilities.

The Hughes Center has been here operating in one way or another for one hundred years and so it used to be an orphanage, now it’s a residential treatment facility for children and adolescences with autism and intellectual disabilities,” said Mark Howard, CEO of The Hughes Center.

Howard said the new facility is a much-needed upgrade.

“This is going to be a state-of-the-art facility. Of course, our facility currently is a little older, I mean it’s been around for 100 years. For example, we’re going to have sensory rooms, so those kids that are struggling with sensory issues and sensory integration, we’ll be able to support those,” said Howard.

“Providing better services to the children and having a facility that is new and more modern to meet their needs,” said Cindy Pruitt Rhodes, Clinical Director at The Hughes Center.

The new building will be able to fill a national need for better care for this vulnerable population.

“Currently we’re licensed for 64 beds. We’re going to move that up to 96. This is incredibly important. It’s important for the state and nationally. Currently there is a bed shortage for children to receive treatment in a residential treatment facility that have autism and intellectual disabilities. This is a very specialized group of kids that need intensive supports,” said Howard.

Howard also said he can’t wait to help more kids and teens.

“There are times that we see kids struggling with everyday activities. Being able to engage with their peers, with other staff or adults in a productive way... and to see those kids make a turnaround is absolutely amazing,” said Howard.

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