Work is nearly finished on a new facility where professionals will combat the increasing rate of infants born addicted to drugs in the region.
Lily's Place, which is named for a Bible scripture about the protection of people who can't protect themselves, is hosting two open houses this month and next before an anticipated grand opening of Nov. 1.
Board member and volunteer Mary Calhoun Brown said the sprinkler system is the final building requirement before moving toward organizational tasks.
"We have been working so hard and focusing time, energy, effort and money on getting the building ready, which is a needed part of the plan," Brown said.
"Now what we're going to do is on Oct. 1 start working on setting up the organizational structure. Work on hiring and developing strategies."
Brown said Lily's Place has received an "unbelievable" community response, which has included church groups, civic groups and individuals to adopt a nursery by furnishing them with soft colors and low-stimulus decor.
The former podiatrist's office now has 16 nurseries: 13 double-occupancy and three single-occupancy complete with decorations, cribs and limited stimuli.
"They're absolutely beautiful," Brown said. "They look like they've been ripped from Home Beautiful or some magazine. They're wonderful places to bring your baby if you can't bring your baby home."
Lily's Place will provide medical care to infants suffering from prenatal drug exposure and offer education and support services to families and communities to help with the needs of these infants.
One of 13 babies in Cabell Huntington Hospital now is born addicted to drugs, according to Dr. David Chaffin, director of the Perinatal Center.
Lily's Place will be considered a medical treatment facility -- a rehab center for newborns. Organizers hope it can act as an overflow center of sorts for the local hospital that tends to at times have a neonatal intensive care unit full of babies born addicted to drugs.
While babies born addicted to drugs need complex care, they don't necessarily need a bed in the NICU and could be tying up space that another child with life-threatening concerns could use.