ADRS Lakeshore celebrates a new beginning
The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services’ ADRS Lakeshore office officially welcomed the public Friday, July 26, by cutting the ribbon at its new complex at 201 London Parkway in Birmingham.
Visitors had an opportunity to tour the 16,000-square-foot building, which will provide an extra 2,000 square feet of space for the more than 30 staff members. The building features two consumer waiting areas, an evaluation/testing room, a group training room, a collaborative workspace, and a work area for the Adaptive Driver Training program.
ADRS Lakeshore staff previously spent almost 40 years at the old location, and many were under the supervision of Paige Hebson. Hebson, who retired in 2018, said as years went by she encountered an issue that she was happy to see.
“When we first started looking, we were blessed with the problem of our staff doubling,” she said. “Our staff was getting larger and larger.”
The initial plan was to renovate the old building, but it became clear that moving was the best option.
This is never an easy process, Hebson said, but extra effort from the staff made the search much easier.
“Thanks to the help of a lot of people, (former VRS Rehabilitation Specialist) Mark Vosel being one of the key players, we were able to identify this place,” she said.
A lot of great memories remain at the old building, Hebson said, but the greatest asset transitioned to the new facility.
“It wasn’t the place that made Lakeshore special; it’s the people,” she said. “I knew I could go back and see the people like I am today, and for that I am so blessed.”
Current Supervisor Michael Washington said he is excited about the future because of the energy and enthusiasm the staff brings regardless of their home base.
“They get up every morning, they go and help individuals who have disabilities, and they live our mission of our department,” he said.
Washington said he is grateful for everything staff and supporters have done to make the move as seamless as possible.
ADRS Commissioner Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw, who also thanked Vosel for working hard to make the move happen, said detailed conversations on many levels took place in preparation.
Burdeshaw said she is confident the Lakeshore staff will continue to achieve their goal of changing lives.
“Being with the Department of Rehabilitation Services we have a mission, and that mission is to ‘enable Alabama’s adults and children with disabilities to achieve their maximum potential,’ ” she said. “Many times, that starts with finding out what someone’s strengths and abilities are, and a lot of that journey sometimes starts here.”
The new building will continue to provide opportunities for driving lessons, college prep courses, socialization, and job training programs, she said.
“All of the programs and services were developed with the needs of the community in mind,” she said. “We will continue to develop programs that meet the needs of the community around us. Lakeshore and this campus are a vital part of that process.”