CSB’s "Merrifield Center" – A New Neighbor with a Beautiful Mission
You can already tell it’s going to be beautiful. The new building going up at the corner of Willow Oaks and Williams Drive in Falls Church, just off Arlington Boulevard near Inova Fairfax Hospital, will house many services of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board – the “CSB,” as it is known in the community. This Fairfax County government agency provides vital services for local residents who have challenges related to mental health, substance use, and intellectual disability. The CSB also operates the “Infant and Toddler Connection,” a program for children from birth to age 3 who have, or are at risk for, developmental disabilities.
CSB services are offered from over 100 sites throughout Fairfax County. The new "Merrifield Center" will house services that are now offered at facilities on Woodburn Road in Falls Church and on Jermantown Road and Democracy Lane in Fairfax. The CSB’s emergency services will be located in this building as well as outpatient services and supports, intensive case management, psychiatric services, medication management, and wellness and health promotion services. The facility will include a primary health care clinic, a pharmacy (open to anyone in the community), a consumer resource center and a child care center for women receiving treatment for substance use disorder.
CSB service recipients provided input into the building design, which is intended to promote wellness, recovery and health management in a secured yet welcoming environment. This partnership in the building development reflects the recognition in the field of behavioral health that recovery requires a partnership between the service provider and the service recipient. Having a primary health care clinic and pharmacy on site reflects the CSB’s commitment to improving access to primary health care for the people it serves. Nationwide, the average life span for people with serious mental illness is 25 years less than for the general population, largely due to untreated yet preventable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
The centrally located facility will offer community-based services and supports to prevent crises and help people with behavioral health challenges integrate successfully into the community. The building itself is designed to integrate successfully and beautifully with its physical surroundings. The CSB’s Merrifield Center, named for the community in which it is located, is already 27 percent completed and on schedule for a fall 2014 move-in date.
The design of the 200,000 square foot facility and adjacent parking structure promotes the natural partnership between the environmentally responsible tenets of “green” development and providing a warm, welcoming and therapeutic environment. Features include:
- Exterior: The building site (4.6 acres) will provide green spaces and park-like settings along the various approaches to the three building entrances. Native and indigenous species of plants have been carefully selected to reduce the need for irrigation and will be planted along winding pathways. There will also be shaded outdoor seating areas where individual and group therapy sessions can take place.
Rain gardens throughout the site along with a stormwater management pond adjacent to the site will control the stormwater runoff.
- Interior: The building is designed with evidence-based strategies that focus the attention of those in the building to the natural elements of their surroundings, providing positive and uplifting distractions as well as an easily navigated and welcoming environment. All public and circulation areas will have daylight and offer expansive views of the surrounding scenery.
The lighting control system for the entire facility will use photocell sensors to maximize natural lighting and minimize the electrical lighting levels during the day. Lighting in waiting areas and lobbies will include decorative lighting with color-changing LEDs to simulate seasonal colors.