On March 8 the Emily Program officially opened the new incarnation of its Anna Westin House, a residential treatment facility for people with eating disorders. The date marked the culmination of a $4.2 million renovation of the former St. Andrew Kim Catholic Church, located at 1449 Cleveland Ave.
The Emily Program, which relocated its headquarters to 2265 Como Ave. two years ago, purchased the church building last May. After gutting most of the interior, remodelers created bedrooms, lounges, offices, treatment rooms and a kitchen and dining area.
The new facility replaces a smaller one that was located in Chaska. Square footage of the new Anna Westin House nearly quadrupled, and capacity went from 8 to 16 beds. It now provides over 60 percent of Minnesota’s residential treatment beds for people with eating disorders.
Residents at the Anna Westin House live two to a room. They stay an average of 4–6 months, during which time they are served by a staff of therapists, psychiatrists, nurses, dietitians, an on-site chef and other specialists. Residents eat all meals on-site, and the kitchen supplies meals for outpatients at the Como Avenue location
Kari Fox, communications coordinator, noted that the new facility provides much more space for therapy. It includes rooms for art and music therapy, yoga, massage and acupuncture. Plans include an herb and vegetable garden this spring.
Fox said the renovated building includes several connections to the surrounding neighborhood. Apple trees planted on the property are Honeycrisp, in honor of the adjacent University of St. Paul campus, where that variety was developed.
The interior is decorated with art work that was framed by the Carter Ave. Frame Shop, and the owner, Tim Smith, consulted on selecting many of the pieces.
The Anna Westin House is Minnesota’s first residential treatment center for people with eating disorders. It was established in 2002 by the family of Anna Westin, who died at age 21 following a five-year struggle with anorexia.
The Emily Program itself was named for an actual person: the sister of executive director and founder Dirk Miller. She recovered from an eating disorder and was part of what inspired Miller to start the organization that now bears her name.
The Emily Program runs four metro-area clinics, each offering a full range of treatment options for eating disorders that range from anorexia nervosa to binge eating. More information is available at emilyprogram.com.