Women's Care Clinic buying new building
DANVILLE — When a Women's Care Clinic client has a baby, staff send out an email announcing the birth of a boy or girl.
They were just as excited to share their latest announcement: "It's a building."
The Christian-based nonprofit organization — which provides pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, education and support to area residents — recently closed on a 55,000-square-foot complex at 1507 N. Bowman Ave., Danville. The clinic will occupy the building on the north end, which has just under 10,000 square feet of space, and is looking to lease or sell the other portions.
"Having more space will allow us to not only increase the number of people we're serving but also expand the types of services we're providing," Executive Director Kim Paden said.
Danville officials said they're pleased that a long-standing organization has purchased the complex, which has sat vacant for a couple of years.
The buildings previously housed the WITS recycling center. City code enforcers shut down that operation in January 2012 for health- and safety-code violations.
"I've known of their need for more space for a while, and I'm glad there's a building in the community ... that will serve their needs," Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said. The use will help breathe new life in the area "and continue to improve the value of the complex and the surrounding neighborhoods."
Next year, the clinic will launch a campaign to raise about $500,000 over the next couple of years to make necessary improvements. Paden and her board are still working out campaign details and a time line for renovations and moving.
Established in 1992, the organization has provided services to everyone — regardless of their religious affiliation or lack of one — out of a 2,500-square-foot building at 200 W. Williams St. for about 10 1/2 years. That location, Paden said, was fine when the clinic saw about 400 women — some there for free pregnancy testing; expectant mothers there to participate in the BRIDGES pregnancy support program.
That number spiked in 2007 after the clinic began providing ultrasound services done by a licensed nurse in 2007, she said. From January through November, the clinic logged more than 2,200 client visits, which actually is down a bit from last year.
"When you have people here for pregnancy testing and support services on the same day, it's snug," Paden said. "Right now, we have four groups of 12 women in our BRIDGES program. We want to be able to enroll more women in the program, but we simply don't have the room right now."
The new facility will have nearly four times the space. It will have a bigger BRIDGES room and market, four client rooms, two exam rooms, a lobby and waiting area, restrooms and a larger kitchen so clients can learn about and practice preparing healthy meal planning.
Paden's "dream floor plan" also includes a chapel, a separate men's room and a children's play room. Those likely will be added in the future.
"Parents can sit down with their children and learn healthy play activities that are age-appropriate for their kids," Paden said. "That's so essential to child development and mother-child bonding and father-child bonding. They can see the importance of play as a way their children learn and develop."
Women can enroll in the BRIDGES program at any time during their pregnancy. It allows them to earn points by completing acts of self improvement in five areas — relationships, physical health, financial needs, career and education, spirituality — and they can use the points to shop for maternity and baby clothes, furniture, car seats, diapers and more in the clinic's market.
Julie Singer, the clinic's director of operations said women typically "graduate" once their child turns 1. She said the additional space also will allow the organization to expand the program.
"Some aren't really quite ready to leave," Singer said. "We're all about building relationships, and we want to provide them with that extra support if they need it."
In addition, officials also want to fully launch a men's program.
"We want to let the guys know they're welcome and that we value fathers, and that they are so important in their children's lives," Paden said.
For more on clinic
To learn more about the Women's Care Clinic's services and plans for its new building at 1507 N. Bowman Ave., Danville, call Executive Director Kim Paden at 431-0987. Paden also is available to speak to community organizations and churches.