DeKALB – Officials at the Family Service Agency of DeKalb County plan to open for services in their new building by Sept. 1.
The move to the new, 14,000-square-foot facility, 1325 Sycamore Road, next to the Wendy’s and across the street from Jewel-Osco, is vital to allow the organization to continue serving the community as efficiently and effectively as possible, Executive Director Tynisha Clegg said Monday. The agency oversees a number of social-service programs in the county, such as the Children’s Advocacy Center for victims of physical or sexual abuse, senior service advocacy programs, and youth mentoring.
The agency on Thursday kicked off its fundraising campaign for the project, with a goal of $1.5 million. As of Monday, they had raised $400, Clegg said.
“Program expansion is the primary reason [for the move],” Clegg said. “It’s important so we can reach the ever-expanding needs of our community. We have individuals in our community that need services, and we have the ability to provide them, just not the space.”
The agency purchased the three-story Sycamore Road building for $475,000 about a year ago. A former Associated Bank, the building is being renovated by Irving Construction to be able to house the agency’s growing number of programs. The agency will move from its 8,000-square-foot facility at 14 Health Services Drive to accommodate the expanding programs.
Clegg said Monday that there is a pending sale on FSA’s Health Services Drive facility, but could not give more details on the buyer or when the sale would be finalized.
FSA will soon add a fifth program to its lineup, Clegg said: DeKalb County Community Action, a currently closed social-services nonprofit that provides resources and tools to low-income people in an effort to help lift them out of poverty. Community Action was acquired by FSA on April 1, Clegg said, and closed their independent doors March 31, so there was no lapse in service.
“In the midst of all this, we were approached with the option to apply for this new program,” Clegg said. “With us already being in the process of the new facility, we didn’t have any hesitation in saying ‘absolutely’ and taking on [Community Action].”
The agency also oversees the county’s Children’s Advocacy Center, the Center for Counseling, Youth Mentoring (formerly known as Big Brothers Big Sisters) and Senior Services. With the added fifth program, along with growing client needs, Clegg said the move is even more necessary.
Clegg said Monday that interior demolition continues as the agency looks to complete the permit process with the city.
Irving Construction handled the demolition of the building’s interior and also won the bid for renovations. The construction company is also overseeing the Egyptian Theatre’s new expansion project and built other prominent buildings in the city, such as the DeKalb Police Department.
The new building will also provide more private access for clients, which Clegg said will benefit those who come to FSA in crisis, or who have been victims of sexual or physical abuse, especially children.
“One thing we’ve heard a lot of from our clients is the privacy [aspect],” Clegg said. “All clients will enter through the main entrance [of the new building] and come into a secure waiting area.”
She said police and other uniformed professionals will also have their own entrance, because child victims of sexual or physical abuse going to the Children’s Advocacy Center are especially prone to being fearful.
The main floor will be for client services, and the top floor will be office space to house the agency’s 28 staff members. Clegg said FSA plans to hire several more clinicians and currently has two open positions for the Community Action program.