Pardon Our Dust: We're Expanding!
You may have noticed there’s a little something happening at our facility.
It’s kind of a big deal.
All right, it’s a really big deal. We’re effectively doubling the square footage of our current facility. And construction is underway! The process of renovation and construction is going to require a bit of disruption from the daily routine, be it in the form of traffic patterns, the spaces we use, or simply in the way it sounds around here. So we thought it might be nice to fill you in on some of what’s going on. We’re growing at a steady pace. It wasn’t that long ago that we did not have this amazing building that you bring your kiddos to every day. Before this building existed, we were located on Mallory Lane, in a converted warehouse. At the time, the space worked, but it was far from ideal. For one thing, the clinic and the preschool were not connected inside the building. To access the clinic from the preschool, one had to go out the front door of the preschool, around the outside of the building, and then in through the front door of the clinic. It’s crazy to look back on those days and wonder how we made it work. Just imagine the days when High Hopes was operating out of a church basement! Still, in that old building, we started hearing the whispers. “We’re getting a new building. They’re working on it just down the way..." The rumors seemed too good to be true. A therapy clinic and preschool in the same building, just a couple of hallways away from each other. A staff room for therapists, teachers, and administrative staff alike. Two large multipurpose gyms, with multiple private treatment rooms besides. Eight comparatively huge classrooms in the preschool, with mat storage built in! The wait seemed interminable. But then in January 2014, it was finally announced that the new building was complete, and a date was set for the move. Every minute of waiting was worth it for the looks of joy on parents’ faces at that news. And when we walked into this building for the first time, we were so honored.
All the rumors were true – the classrooms were bigger than we could have imagined, the pods and playgrounds even bigger. The therapy gyms were gigantic, and so many treatment rooms! Workspaces and offices for every person on the administrative team! We’d come so far up in the world. That was just four years ago, almost to the day. It turns out the old Field of Dreams adage is 100% true: If you build it, they really will come.
The preschool filled up quickly. In fact, last year the preschool enrolled 148 students ages 6 weeks to 6 years over the school year, and provided over 132,000 hours of educational instruction and nurturing time. We now have close to 100 children on the waiting list for enrollment in the preschool. The clinic began treating more and more children. Last year alone, 690 children and youth with needs benefited from our therapy programs, and over 22,000 therapy visits were completed. This is a 97% increase over our last year at our previous location! We especially noticed growth in our feeding therapy program, where we have added more therapists and outgrown the designated feeding therapy treatment spaces in the last year. We need some elbow room! Because of the huge support and interest from the families and communities we serve, we have been able to begin the expansion that is so clearly needed. The capital campaign for our expansion started quietly, with 100% of the High Hopes staff and board donating to the Help Hope Grow fund, and parents in the preschool and therapy clinic joining the “We’re All In” parent contribution campaign. Now, with the groundbreaking in September, and the construction well underway, the campaign is in full swing. When we are all finished here, we will have added approximately 14,000 square feet of space to our facility, including an additional pod of four brand new classrooms in the preschool and a relatively huge multipurpose space in the clinic, not to mention a second floor with additional office space for the people who help things run. We’ll also be converting some of our current office spaces into additional rooms for treatment, especially feeding therapy! We estimate that when our expansion project is complete, it will provide us with the space to serve about 60 additional children in the preschool, and provide 13,000 more visits in the therapy clinic! We are so excited to be growing physically to meet the growing needs of our community.
What This Means for the Day-to-Day We are doing our best to ensure that, as much as possible, disruptions are minimal. However, there will inevitably be new noises, sights, and smells as you enter the building, and new challenges as well. Parking is a big one. For preschool parents, the routine has changed quite a bit. If you see Mr. P out there at drop-off and pick-up times, give him a wave and a smile! He has taken on the task of directing the flow of traffic while our second entrance is closed as part of the construction site. Parents dropping off at any time of day may use the right lane under the portico if they’re going to come in for a few minutes. Then, at the start and finish of the school day, the left lane will serve as a more quickly paced lane for parents whose students are now being escorted to and from their classrooms by helpful teachers and other staff. We appreciate your patience. Playgrounds are another huge area affected by the change. Our new classroom pod will be going smack dab in the spot where our baby/toddler playground used to be. If you’ve visited recently, you might know that the “little playground” was rapidly deconstructed, and is now just gravel and mud! But our new playground is already there for us, located beside the building, conveniently accessible through the back doors located in every classroom. Our big kid playground will eventually be expanding, just like our building! But for now, the big kid playground has to be a little smaller than usual while everything around it reaches its full potential. Nevertheless, amidst all the changes, we’re still getting the kiddos outside and running around as much as possible, when it’s not too cold out there!
It might be a little crowded. That’s kind of why we’re doing this, after all. But a necessary part of the renovations is that some of our spaces may become a little more limited, including those in our current building, while we wait for the new spaces to become a reality. It’s kind of like the old “gotta spend money to make money” philosophy. We have to cram together a little bit so that we can eventually spread out! So please bear with us. We can’t wait until this dramatic transition time is over and we’re ready to start utilizing our new space to serve so many more families in our community! But in the meantime, we’re still honored to be here. It’s going to be very noisy, a little uncomfortable, and a lot inconvenient at times. But just like when we moved into this building, the expansion will be worth every minute of waiting.