Renovation supports mental health services in Johnson County

OPN was proud to join NAMI Johnson County in November when the mental illness support and advocacy non-profit celebrated its new R Place Peer Recovery Center with an open house and ribbon cutting.

Renovated and updated by OPN’s Iowa City studio as part of the firm’s commitment to giving back during our 40th anniversary year, the new center will improve the Johnson County affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ ability to support mental health in Johnson County.

“We wanted to work with an organization that makes a big impact with few resources,” says Iowa City-based Principal Justin Bishop. “NAMI was exactly the type of group we knew we could help with sweat equity, design insights, and technical knowledge. This project is proof that small changes to spaces can elevate daily experiences.”

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NAMI Johnson County has been providing drop-in peer services at the new R Place Peer Recovery Center since mid-August. Established in 2012, R Place Peer Recovery Center provides support to adults who experience the effects of mental illness and dual diagnosis through peer-led activities in a safe, nurturing, non-judgmental, and restorative environment that encourages hope, support, and safe recovery.

Most activities take place in a central open space now conducive to gathering with soft seating and tables. There is an opportunity for privacy in two additional spaces – dubbed the relaxation and meditation rooms. The renovation also included a kitchenette and board room. Throughout, shades of blue and green ties the space together and create a bright, light feel through furniture, paint, and carpet tiles – much of which was donated by Diamond Vogel (paint) and Tallgrass (furniture).

“People already feel better walking in,” says Executive Director Mary Issah. “As soon as people walk in, they feel more comfortable.”

The NAMI renovation was one of four projects supported by OPN in 2019 as part of  the firm’s commitment to supporting local organizations by donating time, talent, and funds to a design project in each of the four communities where OPN is located.