Looking Forward: Our Dreams for the New Space
Construction is coming along, and we’re getting pretty excited! We have so many plans and ideas, dreams for how to use our new space. We’d like to share some of those dreams with you, so we can all be excited together as our expansion takes shape day by day!
Some of you already know that the expansion at 303 High Hopes Court is a much-needed addition to our facility. We’ll be just about doubling our current square footage, and adding several new spaces to enhance our offerings and services.
Take a few moments to picture with us some of the ways these new spaces may be used to better serve everyone who walks through the doors of High Hopes Development Center.
New Administrative Offices
Increasing our size and the number of people we serve comes with another factor of growth, this one more behind-the-scenes: staff. As we get bigger, we will need more dedicated, passionate people on the business side of things, to make sure that we can continue to provide the same quality of service to a larger and still-growing High Hopes family.
Even now, the administrative staff has expanded so much that they are crammed, sometimes two to an office, into the six offices between the preschool and clinic. In addition to the doubling up, when the administrative team flooded its banks again, two rooms that were never intended to be offices were nevertheless converted to serve that purpose.
Clearly, if we are going to continue to add the people we need to keep everything running as efficiently and optimally as possible, we’re going to need more dedicated office spaces to put them into. We hope to add 16 new office spaces throughout the building, to accommodate our current staff and still leave ourselves a little room to grow.
One of those spaces that was never meant to be an office is our current teacher store- and work-room. Renee Taylor, our assistant preschool director, works every day in a room that is smaller than most of our building’s storage closets. It holds so many teacher resources that there is barely room to open drawers and cabinets, much less walk around or work at the counter.
As we expand and bring in more classroom resources, not to mention teachers to utilize those resources, the need for a larger space is becoming increasingly evident. So we plan to build a teacher workroom, one that can more than accommodate the storage, tools, and equipment we need.
A workroom like that would enable our teaching team to let their creativity flow when they plan our curriculum. And maybe we can give Renee a little room to breathe while we’re at it!
To shed just a little more light on the staff side of the expansion, here is one interesting statistic: When we first moved into our current building, we had fewer than 50 people on our payroll. Now, four short years later on the verge of an expansion that will only mean adding more members to our High Hopes staff family, we currently employ almost 70 wonderful, committed people.
After a morning of hard work, all those 70 people have to eat, and as of right now, there’s only one modest-sized staff breakroom where they can go to do that. Even staggered, our staff lunch breaks are proving to be more and more of a strain on our little breakroom.
The expansion will include two new breakrooms, both larger than our present one. This will ensure that our staff mealtimes can be a time to relax and recharge, without being too restricting. It will also open up the space that currently serves as our breakroom to new uses and purposes!
Separate Clinic Entrance
With the growing volume of children and families who will soon be able to avail themselves of our services on a daily basis, our current entrance alone might burst at the seams trying to contain them all! It can already get a little crowded, especially at busy times of the day, and we recognize the need for additional waiting and reception areas.
The plan right now is for a new entrance space to go in at the front of the 303 expansion, to be a dedicated reception area for the High Hopes Pediatric Therapy Clinic. This frees up space for parents and families in both the preschool and clinic, giving everybody a little elbow room.
There is no sacrifice of available spaces throughout the building with the addition of this separate entrance. Inside the building, everything will still be connected and accessible!
More Feeding Therapy Rooms
All those new offices and staff areas open up new possibilities for the rooms that currently serve as administrative offices. But we already have ideas for how to use them...
One of our fastest-growing programs is Feeding Therapy. Rooms that can be used for feeding therapy include a measure of privacy, relatively easy clean-up, and enough storage for relevant supplies. The demands of a feeding therapy session mean that there are currently only a few rooms in our building that are adequately equipped to be used for that purpose.
This program is a big priority for us, as it is clearly a much-needed service. So to meet the growing need, we are revamping what has been office space to become functional, private therapy rooms. They will also be suitable places for feeding therapy, so we can hopefully begin to host more feeding therapy visits than it has yet been possible for us to provide.
The addition of a pod of four classrooms to our current preschool section opens up exciting possibilities for the High Hopes inclusive education program. In addition to providing more preschool classrooms, to give opportunities to some of the families on our waiting list, we hope to open a kindergarten program alongside the preschool.
The kindergarten program will be based on the same inclusive model used in the preschool: a 60% to 40% ratio of children who are typically developing to those with a diagnosed need, learning together side-by-side in a way that promotes the individual success of each child, as part of the whole.
A kindergarten is an idea that we have hoped to bring to fruition for some time, and it is very exciting to be so close to realizing that dream.
Our expansion opens up these possibilities and more, and we can’t wait to see what amazing things the future holds for us with these new spaces at our disposal.
We hope you are as excited as we are for all these dreams and more as we look forward to the completion of our newly-renovated home!