Work has started on the planned expansion at the Morning Star Boys’ Ranch, and while the project started later than anticipated, executive director Audrea Marshall says it’s now “cruising right along.”
The project includes $2 million in renovations to the existing 2,200-square-foot, three-bay garage on the nonprofit’s property into eight new residential rooms, two bathrooms, two private showers, and a common living area. Called the HOPE building -- which stands for helping other people every day -- the structure will be designed to accommodate children with complex behavioral needs.
The nonprofit, located at 4511 S. Glenrose Road, launched a capital campaign earlier this year to raise $8 million in funds for the renovations of the garage and the organization’s existing residential facility, the Murphy House.
Hikes in the construction and soft costs nearly doubled the nonprofit’s original estimate, bringing the goal to $2 million for the garage alone, Marshall says.
The funds will go toward construction costs and the soft costs that will make the building habitable, such as furniture and similar items, she says.
Marshall says 71% of the campaign goal for the garage renovation has been reached. About $726,000 came from a Washington state Department of Commerce grant, and $620,000 came from the Morning Star Foundation. Another $95,000 came from fundraising events hosted by Morning Star and private donors, she says.
“The community has been very supportive and extremely caring about the work that we do here. The reception from the community for this project has been overwhelming,” says Marshall.
NAC Architecture, of Spokane, designed the renovations, which are being performed by Yost Gallagher Construction, also of Spokane.
The project timeline has been pushed back, she adds, with the need for more funding and a longer wait time on permits than originally expected. The HOPE building is now anticipated to be completed and occupied in June 2020. The nonprofit had originally hoped to have the building operational by late this fall.
“Of course, we’d love to have it sooner, and that’s still a possibility,” Marshall says. “We want to make sure that we’re putting everything in motion successfully, so June is when we’re shooting to have it open.”
Once work on the structure is completed, the nonprofit will launch the second phase--renovating the existing Murphy House, Marshall says.
With the increased costs for the HOPE building, the renovations to the Murphy House likely will cost more than the original estimate, Marshall says. Numbers are being recalculated, she says, but she estimates it won’t be more than $10 million for both projects combined.
“We’re being strategic about phase two to make sure we are doing things in sections that make sense as they connect (the Murphy and HOPE) buildings,” she says.
Marshall says the nonprofit will hire about 25 employees to staff the new HOPE building and expects to begin hiring and training next February and March.
“It takes a couple of months to get people trained and ready and feeling prepared,” she says.
Founded in 1957, Morning Star Boy’s Ranch is a nonprofit group home for boys aged 6 to 12 that works with the state to place children into foster homes or reunite them with family. The nonprofit also offers four community-based youth programs in the Spokane area.
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