A bed instead of a thin mat to sleep on.
That’ll be one of the more significant differences for shelter residents when the Lawrence Community Shelter relocates to a warehouse near Douglas County Jail, shelter director Loring Henderson said at Tuesday’s groundbreaking for construction at the new site.
“This is going to be a wonderful space for bringing more humane treatment,” Henderson told dozens of community members gathered at the new site at 3701 Franklin Park Circle.
Board members took part in a ceremonial first shoveling of dirt in the middle of the 25,000-square-foot facility, which will be divided into a 15,000-square-foot shelter area, complete with caseworker rooms, medical clinic and family rooms. The other 10,000 square feet will house the shelter’s jobs program.
Board members raised nearly $3 million for the new facility and worked in conjunction with county and city leaders. Shelter board chairman John Tacha thanked the community and nearly 800 donors who made the new facility possible.
“For Lawrence to say we care about the least of us is a big statement,” Tacha said. “The people stepped up.”
Sabatini Architects, Inc., of Lawrence designed the new facility, and B.A. Construction will handle the renovations, which are scheduled for completion in late December. Henderson said they haven’t yet determined a move-in date.
The new facility will have a 125-bed capacity, compared to 75 beds at the current shelter at 214 W. 10th St. For the past year, the shelter has utilized additional overflow housing at area churches because of overcrowding.