Results in significant savings in costs and time versus previous plan to build on town donated land
Bluffton Self Help has signed a contract to purchase a 6500 square foot building at 39 Sheridan Park Drive across from the Red Cross in Bluffton. The charity plans to move from its current 1000 square foot space on May River Road, formerly the Bluffton town jail, to its new location before Thanksgiving.
The search for a building is the culmination of months of efforts by BSH board members, volunteers and outside experts. BSH had previously announced plans to construct a building on a small portion of a town-owned ten-acre site just south of the Bluffton traffic circle on Highway 46. However, escalating site preparation costs including wetlands mitigation and the need to provide water, sewer and utilities to the undeveloped acreage, further delaying construction, made the total estimated cost and timing prohibitive.
BSH President Peter Bromley said “It was a difficult decision after coming so far with the town, but all agree that this is clearly the right thing to do. Not only will it save us over $500,000, it also means we can occupy our building 15 to 20 months earlier than previously planned. Additionally, we end up owning our own building versus the leasing arrangement with the town. While we desperately need a much larger facility, we’re also very cognizant of the need to make sure we’re good stewards of our donations. This decision insures that the majority of our dollars go to serving people rather than constructing and maintaining a building.”
Bromley also said “We feel we’ve done an excellent job serving the community despite being hindered by a tiny, woefully out-of-date facility. With more than 22,000 residents served annually, we simply don’t have room to efficiently serve clients at our present location. In addition to having to rent storage facilities, we also have safety issues on food days because of long lines, a small parking lot, and trucks delivering food trying to get in and out.”
Bromley also acknowledged and praise the extreme cooperation BSH received from town officials, including an offer to lease the proposed construction site for $10.00 per year. “The town has been incredibly helpful and proactive every step of the way,” Bromley said. “We truly regret that there were no other viable options in Old Bluffton, but we’re happy that we’re able to find such a fine facility within the Bluffton city limits.”
The new building includes two floors, three bays for truck deliveries and adequate space for private client consultation and counseling, as well as significant storage space. “We are absolutely elated with the outcome of what has indeed been a roller coaster ride for us on this project,” added Bromley. “It is impossible to thank everyone that has made this possible, but we owe special thanks to the current owner of the new building, Mike Keenan who made a major price concession to us. We also are forever indebted to our “Secret Santa” last December and to our recent special Berkeley Hall donor whose donation enabled us to proceed with this purchase” he said.
The building’s cost will be funded from a combination of private donations, grants, foundations, corporations, individuals and an assortment of fund drives, as well as in-kind donations of furniture, fixtures and materials. BSH plans to officially kick off its building campaign May 5 at it’s annual “BASH at the Lake” fundraiser to be held at Hampton Lake.
About Bluffton Self Help
Founded in 1987 by Ida Martin, Bluffton Self Help has grown from one woman fulfilling a critical need for neighbors and friends to an organization that today serves more than 20,000 clients annually, providing free food and clothing as well as short-term financial assistance for the working poor.