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Shelter lands money for expansion

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New bedroom space, dining hall planned at SpringHaven domestic violence shelter

By Marty Finley

SpringHaven Inc. now has the cash needed to invest in more bedroom space and a larger dining hall.

The Elizabethtown domestic violence shelter earlier this month was awarded a $500,000 community development block grant from the state, which it will use to increase its number of bedrooms from five to 11, said Tanya Thomas, executive director.

SpringHaven Chairman Bruce Reeves said the expansion includes a roughly 600-square-foot dining hall and nearly 4,000 square feet in new dormitory space for clients. The shelter has five bedrooms, but two existing rooms will be removed to develop the new dining hall. The eight new bedrooms will be divided by four new bathrooms shared by tenants, according to Thomas.

“It’s going to be a great asset,” Reeves said.

The extra space is needed, Reeves said, because SpringHaven has been operating in antiquated and cramped quarters.

Thomas said SpringHaven has the capacity to serve about 20 people at one time but can house as many as 25 depending on the number of infants in residence. Thomas said the older dining hall was too small and the upgrade will create a more family friendly environment.

The expansion will give clients more room and newer facilities to access, she said, which should improve their comfort level.

“I’m happy for the clients because they’ll have more space and privacy,” she said. “That’s the ultimate goal.”

Clients will not be relocated during the expansion, she said.

The additions include plans for a new laundry room and an area where community donations can be stored and sorted, Thomas said.

“We get a lot of donations,” she said.

SpringHaven plans a room entirely for resident teenagers, after the facility was reviewed by the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association, Thomas said. The facility has a play room for children but few accouterments for teenagers. She said the shelter likely will install gaming systems and other accessories appealing to teens.

The state grant is for construction only, Thomas said. The shelter plans to pursue money for other needs, such as phones and security, she said.

SpringHaven officials have worked closely with the Lincoln Trail Area Development District and local legislators in acquiring the grant and are slated to meet today and discuss a construction timetable and costs in more detail. Thomas said the expansion should proceed quickly once it starts.

Reeves said SpringHaven wants to start construction as soon as possible.

“It is a time-sensitive grant so we are on a timetable,” he said. “We need to start as quickly as we can.”

Thomas said the initial cost was estimated at approximately $700,000, but complications regarding the service capacity of a nearby fire hydrant could drive the cost higher.

A check presentation for the grant is planned during Hardin Fiscal Court’s next meeting in March, Thomas said.

State Sen. Dennis Parrett, D-Elizabethtown, contacted the governor’s office on SpringHaven’s behalf, explaining the shelter’s mission and its importance in assisting victims of domestic violence.

Parrett said he was pleased to hear the efforts were successful and said the expansion should strengthen SpringHaven’s ability to meet its mission.

“This is a shelter that’s been very, very successful,” he said.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.