In less than a year the Stevens County Developmental Achievement Center has raised $1.2 million in cash toward an estimated $1.7 million building project.
"Morris is a wonderful community," said Charlie Oakes, the executive director of the DAC. "I have done four building drives in my career. The last one was in Willmar and it took us three years to raise a half million dollars. Morris has the biggest heart of any community I've worked in."
The DAC will upgrading its roughly 40-year-old building. The DAC serves developmentally disabled clients with social and work skills training and services. It serves 62 clients. "When this building was built....we served 26 clients," Oakes said.
The facility has outgrown its space. The addition includes doubling the size of the kitchen, enlarge restrooms, widen hallways and create offices based on community jobs opportunities for clients.
About 3,000 square feet will be added onto the 8,000 square foot property.
The DAC will move to a temporary location during the construction by Marcus Construction of Willmar.
"Joe Riley rented us a building that wasn't for rent but was for sale," Oakes said.
Riley's building is near U.S. Highway 59. The building has offices in the front and the DAC will also use one of the back garage stalls that once stored large cranes, Oakes said.
"It already had two accessible bathrooms. We will set up two temporary bathrooms," Oakes said.
The DAC had been concerned about finding a temporary location because they weren't any large enough buildings available, Oakes said.
"It seemed like things weren't going our way," Oakes said.
Thankfully, Riley was willing to rent his building to the DAC, Oakes said.
The building has 4,000 square feet so the DAC will need to store some items during construction.
Moving day is slated for Thursday, May 30. Oakes said volunteers will help with the move. "We will have the Morris Tiger football team here to help carry boxes," Oakes said.
DAC employees and clients will also help with the move, Oakes said.
"The clients are really excited about it," Oakes said.
Clients and staff will need to adjust to the smaller temporary space. "There is lots of outdoor space, we can go out for a walk if we need to," Oakes said.
Oakes said the DAC expects to move back into its renovated building in mid-October.