The 1105 Project Showcases Progress On Collaborative Campus
By Alison Sullivan and Jill Kasparie, Reporters
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Officials with four area nonprofit agencies say they've always worked together to give support to those in need throughout Johnson County, but now that collaboration is about to happen under one roof.
Organizers behind The 1105 Project, a partnership between the Free Lunch Program, the Domestic Violence Intervention Program, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Crisis Center of Johnson County, held an open house Sunday to display the progress made on building renovations.
Agency leaders and community members who utilize the provided services say the project is a unique partnership that not only better help clients who seek their assistance, but will also save on overhead costs for the organizations.
Renovations include pantry space, a kitchen, dining room, meeting and board rooms and office space for every agency.
“What makes this unique is that it’s a lot of shared space,” said Becci Reedus, Crisis Center executive director. “It has been designed so that each agency has its own program space to suit its needs on a minimal level but [programs] can also utilize the other space when it’s not being utilized.”
The 7,300-square-foot building, located at 1105 Gilbert Court, previously housed the county health building. The county Board of Supervisors sold the vacated building to the Crisis Center for $1 in 2012. The Crisis Center will continue to reside in its current facility with additional space in the new building.
“It’s exciting,” Supervisor Rod Sullivan said standing in what will be the building’s dining area, Sunday afternoon. “It’s a great collaboration and we need more of that.”
So far donors have given $450,000 – which includes a $285,000 Community Development Block Grant from Iowa City -- to the estimated $1.3 million project. Agency officials have set a goal to move into the building by January 1, 2014, which means the project will need to raise the remaining $800,000 in under 100 days.
Amid piles of dry wall and stacks of sheetrock, donors and community members listened volunteers like Cedric Lee, talk about the benefits the new situation will bring. Lee, who has previously benefited from several of the agencies and now a volunteer, said the new campus will be so much easier for those with transportation difficulties or who are new to the area.
“With everything being centrally located it is going to be so helpful,” Lee said.
The building also gives the Free Lunch Program a home, which has to leave its current location by the end of 2013.
Mary Palmberg, director of the Free Lunch Program, said the new situation will help to make donor contributions stretch even further.
“I think that’s what this project helps us do… is to make the most of what they give,” Palmberg said.
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