Mental Health agency remakes downtown headquarters

Dayton-based Eastway Behavioral Healthcare is investing about $500,000 into remaking its 600 Wayne Ave. headquarters — and the agency intends to announce even bigger plans Sept. 25 at a private 60th anniversary gala at the Victoria Theatre.

One of Ohio’s largest mental health care agencies, Eastway in recent months has expanded its service footprint to include Columbus and Washington Court House, even serving clients nationally from as far away as Idaho.

Eastway is investing about $500,000 into its Wayne Avenue headquarters on the edge of the Oregon District, and further investments will be announced soon, said John Strahm, the agency’s president and chief executive.

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The message is simple, as far as he’s concerned: Eastway remains anchored in Dayton.

“It has been 60 years, and we’re not going anywhere,” Strahm said in an interview Thursday.

The remodeling of the Eastway headquarters along Wayne is meant to give the campus a less “institutional” feel and a more “park-like” setting. The exterior and entrances will be remade, with more green space added to the property at Wayne and Bainbridge Street.

Eastway serves more than 10,000 clients and families a year, focusing on people shouldering mental health issues or dealing with abuse. With 22 separate facilities, the agency drew attention last year with its acquisition of the 36,000-square-foot former Hannah Neil Center in Columbus, a nearly $3 million investment.

But the agency serves some 2,200 clients daily at its Wayne headquarters and nearby locations in Dayton, including sites where clients perform contract work for Eastway partners — some light assembly and manufacturing, packaging and other tasks.

Eastway leaders hope to pay for investments with more contract work. Strahm and his colleagues mentioned Honda, Procter & Gamble and even Amazon as companies they would like to work with.

“True recovery is teaching people to work,” said Cybil Saum-Johnson, Eastway vice president and chief operating officer.

With further investments, agency leaders think the number of clients served will only rise.

In the past decade, the agency’s revenue has nearly doubled, from $16 million annually in 2007 to an expected $30 million in this fiscal year, said Strahm and Krystal Burke, Eastway director of business development.

“It’s planned growth,” Burke said. “It’s not just to see how big or how fast we can grow.”

Like all viable service agencies, Eastway tries to operate like a business. Its model includes running apartments in Trotwood and an office building in Englewood, agency leaders told this news outlet last year.

The agency’s balance sheet shows that Eastway saw profit of $622,000 on total revenues of nearly $21.9 million in 2015, up from profit of $447,000 in 2014 on total revenues in that year of nearly $19.9 million.

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