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SpringHaven looking to expand

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Shelter has applied for grant to add more bedrooms, new dining hall

By Marty Finley

SpringHaven Inc. is looking for more room to accommodate its clients.

The domestic violence shelter is planning to add eight more bedrooms, four new bathrooms and a more user-friendly dining hall as part of an extensive expansion to upgrade its facilities, said Assistant Director Tanya Thomas.

Thomas said the renovation is needed to offer more space for the women and children who call the facility home and create a better living environment.

“We just need more space,” she said.

The entire addition is estimated to fall just under 4,600 square feet, including a 600-square-foot dining hall to replace the old one and 3,990 square feet in additional rooms, Thomas said.

The eight new bedrooms will be divided by the bathrooms, which will connect rooms to one another, she said. The upgrade in restroom facilities are needed, she said, because clients currently have to share one bath tub.

The shelter, meanwhile, only has five bedrooms but the capacity to lodge 20 people, she said, creating cramped living and sleeping headquarters as several people are piled into a room with bunk beds. Once finished, the shelter will more than double its bedroom total at 11.

Even at the dinner table, the space is tight, she said. SpringHaven plans to renovate two of its bedrooms and an intake office used for miscellaneous purposes, such as private consultations between clients and advocates, to create the new dining hall that will create a more family friendly dining experience, Thomas said.

“It will just give them more room,” she said.

Thomas said SpringHaven ultimately wants to provide some stability to an old building that has had its shares of repairs and maintenance.

“When you have a facility that was built in the 1800s, it’s going to have to be fixed up a lot,” she said.

The organization has applied for a community development block block grant not to exceed $500,000. Thomas said the timeline of the new wing’s construction is contingent upon the grant. She said SpringHaven should know by July or August if it will get the grant and would be able to bid the project out a month or so later.

“They’ll start just as soon as they can,” she said.

Thomas said she was unsure of SpringHaven’s chances of getting the grant.

“Somebody is going to get it,” she said. “Why not us?”

But should SpringHaven fail to get the grant, she said it would look for other grant opportunities and funding sources to fund the project.

The application for the grant follows shortly after the state downgraded the weight capacity for a bridge leading to the domestic violence shelter from 10 tons to three tons, eliminating the bridge’s use by large vehicles, such as fire trucks and ambulances.

SpringHaven clients were relocated to local hotels for about a week as Elizabethtown worked with Hardin County Government to build a temporary access road behind the shelter so emergency services could access the building.

Mayor Tim Walker said the city is assessing needed upgrades to the bridge, hiring a firm to create a proposal and applying for grant funding to pay for the repairs.

Thomas acknowledged the bridge repairs may coincide with the expansion of the facility, which she said could prove “tricky.”

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