KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Construction is underway on a brand new recovery community center coming to Knoxville. The Metro Drug Coalition is spearheading the project. They’re calling it The Gateway.

“A hub within the community for folks who are in early stages of recovery for substance use disorder to connect with others that may be in longer-term recovery, to continue their recovery process with supportive services,” said Karen Pershing, Metro Drug Coalition’s Executive Director.

The unfinished space will transform into training and counseling rooms, music and art therapy areas, and fitness and recreation centers. The idea is to bring resources to one location.

“It’s going to be a walk-in facility, so if someone comes in and they are in need of services, we’ll meet them where they are, try to get them connected to whatever it is that they need,” Pershing said.

Pershing said the opioid epidemic is hammering the community. “It didn’t go away during the pandemic, in fact, it got much worse. Overdose deaths went up 41 percent. Many people relapsed,” she said.

That’s why they want to help anyone who needs it.

“The overall mission really is to save lives – by breaking down stigma, offering hope, getting people into treatment initially, but then as they come out of treatment, how can we help them stay in recovery,” Pershing said.

Construction started in August. The Metro Drug Coalition hopes to open The Gateway in the first quarter of 2022. So far, they have raised $2.6 million for the project. They say they’ve still got $875,000 left to raise.