Site preparation began this past week for an expansion of New Haven Center for Special Needs Adults.
The center began as a school for special needs children more than a half century ago by parents concerned that no program was available for their children. Over the years the center slowly changed into a center for adults after the public school system instituted special needs programs in its curriculum.
New Haven was designed for about 15 students and has seen only one real expansion since then, adding a gym several years ago. However, the center has grown from about 15 to nearly 45 clients occupying the same space.
Officials and supporters have been raising funds to add a new kitchen, pantry, dining and multipurpose room, bathroom and storage space. Meals have until now been prepared in what amounts to a small home kitchen.
At first, plans were to build the new structure on the east side of the center, but drainage problems were discovered to prevent that. Now, the addition will be on the space to the west, between the present building and Polk Street.
Although no construction is planned on the east side now, a house and small store building the center owns facing North Street are finally being removed.
This past year the group had raised about $200,000 but expected the cost to be closer to $350,000. A decision to renovate the present kitchen rather than build a new one has saved some money.
Work has been slow, however, partly because of funds and partly because some of the work is being donated in kind and has depended on the availability of workers.
The center does receive some county funding but none from the state or federal government.
Renovation of the kitchen was reported to be nearly done. The dirt work presently being done had to wait on the removal of some large old trees, removal of unsuitable soil and now good soil is being brought in.expansion, New Albany, New Haven Center for Special Needs Adults, Union County