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Aris Pediatric Behavioral clinic to expand its footprint in Woodbury

An architectural rendering shows the new Aris Clinic, planned near Century Avenue and Pouliot Parkway. Courtesy of the city of Woodbury

WOODBURY — Aris Pediatric Behavioral Health Services will be moving across Interstate-494 into its own newly constructed facility.

Aris Clinic, currently housed in a multi-tenant building at 7616 Currell Blvd., was approved to build an almost 16,000-square-foot building near Century Avenue and Pouliot Parkway by the City Council May 9.

The clinic serves 5- to 18-year-olds with outpatient psychiatric services as well as intensive outpatient programs, or IOP.

Through IOP, students attend Aris instead of going to their regular school. A standard day at Aris includes therapy and medication management, as well as educational classes so the students don't get behind in their school work.

Students generally attend for four to eight weeks before heading back to their regular school.

During the summer, IOP is shortened to solely therapeutic work.

"This is something that does seem to be needed in general in the community," council member Amy Scoggins said.

Molly Wilson, Aris general manager, said there has been increased demand for IOP, and along with it a need for more space.

More therapists and prescribers have been added to fill the demand for more IOP patients, but more staff and programming will be added when the new clinic is complete.

Clinic environment

The future home of the new Aris Clinic will be surrounded other medical buildings, including Woodwinds Health Campus and Summit Orthopedics.

Aris will fit right into the area zoned as a medical campus district. Though Aris is claiming 21 acres of the area, City Planner Eric Seales said there may be more opportunities for another medical office to set up in that district.

The clinic required such a large chunk of the area because of the site challenges, including wetlands and vegetation. To make room for that natural environment, the design also leaves most of the site as is.

"I don't think I've ever seen a project that has less of an effect on the environment than this one does," Community Development Director Dwight Picha said at the council meeting.

Aris intends to embrace the natural area that can’t be built on.

At their current location, staff takes groups on walks and have some therapeutic activities outdoors. The new clinic will allow Aris to more fully implement natural spaces into therapy.

Wilson said outdoor classrooms, walking paths and hopefully a garden tended by patients will be set up at their new site.

Patients also get to leave their mark indoors. Wilson said Aris staff treats each mental health patient with a tailored approach.

"Our motto is helping kids one hand at a time," she said in an email. 

When they leave the program, each child gets to leave their handprint on one of the clinic walls.