Looking out a large window from an office perched above northeast corner of Clinton Parkway and Kasold Drive, Bruce Beale remarks on the view.
"This site was just great," says Beale, director of DCCCA Inc., the state's largest substance abuse counseling, intervention and prevention agency.
Anyone driving regularly past the intersection during the last six months has seen the new $1.35 million DCCCA headquarters take shape.
Beale and his staff moved from their 8,000-square-foot former location at 2200 W. 25th to the two-story, 15,400-square-foot steel-framed brick building less than two weeks ago.
And immediately they noticed the difference.
"We were running into each other constantly at the other building," Beale said. "We didn't have enough group rooms. We didn't have any waiting rooms. All the secretaries were in a common area."
The new building features 13 clinical counseling offices and several meeting rooms, including one that can handle a gathering of about 75 people.
"SO NOW WE can put on a lot more community events and make this room available to the community for lectures, workshops and seminars," Beale said.
Recently, a group of educators from Lawrence's school district was using the larger meeting room to go through a program to discourage drugs in schools.
Sitting in a smaller conference room, Beale and George Heckman, assistant director, talked about the new building and how DCCCA has grown during the years.
"We've grown by leaps and bounds," Beale said. "We have 12 sites across the state. Eighty-five percent of the agency is now outside of Douglas County."
They manage an AIDS clearinghouse, evaluate drug and alcohol programs of other agencies, including all of those for the Kansas Department of Corrections.
WHEN THE agency started in 1974, it was organized as a non-profit corporation and was called the Douglas County Citizens Committee on Alcoholism.
In 1976, DCCCA began running the Lawrence Alcohol Safety Action Project, which provided evaluations, education and treatment for people arrested for driving while intoxicated.
Two years later, DCCCA began offering satellite treatment programs in Franklin, Miami, Osage, Coffey, Anderson and Linn counties.
During the 1980s, DCCCA began operating the Kansas Alcohol Safety Action Project, which is funded through the Kansas Department of Transportation.
The Douglas County Drug Abuse Council and DCCCA also merged during 1981 to coordinate prevention and education programs in the county. DCCCA also began contracting for treatment services at state correctional facilities.
LATER, DCCCA received contracts to evaluate alcohol and drug use patterns in Kansas schools and schools in other states.
About five years ago, the board began looking at a new name, because it was doing so much business outside of Douglas County, Beale said. So after talking about the name change for more than a year, they decided to change the name to the name "DCCCA Inc."
"At the moment this is just one of 13 different locations," he said. "Most of the business is outside of Douglas County. So there may be a name change coming up in the future."
DCCCA now employs about 145 people, including about 30 who work at the Lawrence center.
Beale said when he joined DCCCA in 1975, it had two employees. Heckman said when he came on the staff in 1982, there were 18.
Beale said the non-profit agency, which is operated by a board of directors, has grown because of the emphasis given to curbing drunken driving in the last few years, Beale said.
"The agency just happened to be in the right place at the right time."