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New home for Catholic Charities is taking shape

This story originally appeared in the Jefferson City News Tribune. Read the full story online: Jefferson City News Tribune Website

The new home for Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri is taking shape.The former La Salette Missionaries chapel and gymnasium in Jefferson City are undergoing a transformation into a comprehensive health and social services center and new home for the nonprofit, said Cristal Backer, director of development and outreach for Catholic Charities.by Joe Gamm Feb. 24 2021 @ 12:05amstory.lead_photo.captionJulie Smith/News Tribune Bishop Shawn McKnight, middle, listens as Dan Lester, left, points out some of the features and changes made during a tour of the Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri new facility Tuesday. Lester is executive director of CCCNM, the Catholic non-profit agency that purchased Shikles Center from the Jefferson City Housing Authority and began renovation of it last year. Areas of the building will include rooms for medical use, open area for gatherings, meetings, tutoring, etc., a chapel and office space. In addition, room is being added on the lower level for bulk food storage where individuals will be able to select food items much like in a grocery store.

The new home for Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri is taking shape.

The former La Salette Missionaries chapel and gymnasium in Jefferson City are undergoing a transformation into a comprehensive health and social services center and new home for the nonprofit, said Cristal Backer, director of development and outreach for Catholic Charities.

The Rev. W. Shawn McKnight, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City, and a few staff members from the nonprofit toured the structure Tuesday.

The renovation of the structure is a $4.2 million project — whose funding is called the “Open Hearts Open Doors Renovation 2021” campaign, Backer said.

“We are currently at the finish line. We need roughly $800,000 more to complete the project,” she said.

Changes have been happening rapidly inside and outside the building, whose address is now considered 1015 Edmonds St.

The original stone in the site’s chapel and wood-covered ceilings have been uncovered through the course of the renovations, said Dan Lester, the nonprofit’s executive director.

“That’s such a unique setting that helps bring in the history of this space,” Lester said.

McKnight and his colleagues toured through the building, where still-bare steel studs define office spaces and four rooms that will be appropriate for medical examinations, or private areas where clients may have conferences on the upper floor.

The lower floor will include a pair of his and hers showers, a small kitchenette, the walk-through pantry, refrigeration and other features.

New fire sprinkler lines criss-cross the ceilings, highlighting project organizers’ wish to preserve the facility.

“Our hope is that people in the community — whether it’s a Catholic Charities program that wants to do training or a community group that wants to use the space for meetings and conferences — will feel safe,” Lester said.

The open area on the top floor will be a large, open space that can use modular furniture and be modified to fit needs as they come, he said. If people want to have low-impact classes for nearby seniors, they can do that in the large space.

“Eventually, maybe we could do some after-school activities in this area, if that’s something the community would like to see,” Lester said. “That’s a consideration, too — something that could help this neighborhood.”

Architects worked diligently to preserve some of the important features in the building, he said.

Windows along the north side of the building’s large central room are to be extended down to about 7 feet above the floor to allow more light to enter.

Before the recent cold spell, crews were able to complete concrete foundation walls that define a 4,000-square-foot addition to the existing 12,000-square-foot structure.