WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA – The Laurel Center plans to resume construction of their new building on Cameron Street. The center provides shelter for women — and their children — who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The three-story building will house the organization’s administrative offices and provide 32 beds for women and their children seeking shelter.
Its new 22,500 square-foot building on North Cameron Street is still just a shell, for now. Executive Director Kaye Harris said that work on the interior will begin May 1 under Howard Shockey & Sons Construction. The cost of building the interior is $2.1 million. Harris said it cost the center $3 million to do the groundwork and build the shell of the building. The shell was also built by Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc., and it was completed in 2013.
The Laurel Center’s current building in Winchester, which Harris said the organization has used for 28 years, only provides enough room to shelter 14 people. The nonprofit organization was able to shelter 139 women and children in 2016, but Harris said it had to turn away 150- 200 because of a lack of space. Sometimes there is room at the shelter for homeless women, but Harris said that victims of assault are the higher priority due to the emergency behind the situation. “We just don’t have enough space,” Harris said. The current shelter is unable to serve people with walking disabilities because of tight spaces and a lot of stairs. Since the shelter was grandfathered by old rules, it does not have to meet the current standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The new shelter, on the other hand, will be handicap- accessible and will include elevators.
Though the new building’s interior will cost $ 2.1 million, the nonprofit organization hopes to raise $ 3.1 million, so it could also cover the costs of moving in, furniture, maintenance and playground equipment. So far, $ 1 million has been raised.
Construction is estimated to wrap up in January, with the center opening sometime in February or March of 2018.
Source: Josh Janney, The Winchester Star