The OACAC Barry County Neighborhood Center has moved to a larger facility that is located at 700 East Highway 248 in Cassville. The new facility will give the agency nearly three times as much space as was available at its Main Street location.
"We have so much more room," said Gail Reed, Barry County OACAC director. "We have lots of storage, a conference room, a nice big reception area and offices for everyone. We are so excited."
Earlier this year, Reed shared the Neighborhood Center's need for a larger location with the OACAC Barry County Neighborhood Center Advisory Board, which inspired a board member to contact Mike Bailey, of Watley Holdings. Bailey suggested the Neighborhood Center consider renting the facility on Highway 248 that formerly housed Expressions Hair Design.
"Our superintendent and executive director toured the building and saw that it was such a good fit for us," said Reed. "We really needed more room, and we desperately needed a conference room to hold meetings and life skills classes in."
Watley Holdings made some improvements to the building to facilitate the Neighborhood Center's needs. The company also paved the parking lot and driveway for the agency.
"They have been so good to work with," said Reed. "They really believe in what we do and wanted to help us."
The Neighborhood Center staff and volunteers began moving into the new facility earlier this month. They hope to complete the move sometime this week.
"We are in the process of moving," said Reed. "We have enough stuff here to do business. The weather last week slowed us down some, but we are operating at our new location."
Crews have completed sheetrock work at the new facility, which will allow the Neighborhood Center staff to begin painting their new conference room and decorating the office later this week.
"We are going to have to get tables for the conference room and chairs for our reception area, but other than that we are pretty set with furniture," said Reed.
The new Neighborhood Center features three offices, a large reception area, a resource library, a kitchen area, a mail room, four storage rooms and a large garage area, which will be used for extra storage.
"We will have a room just for Share Your Christmas items and a lot of storage for our school supplies," said Reed. "We will also have storage for our weatherization products. We will have enough room to hang up the clothing we get in so that we know what we have."
The Neighborhood Center's new mailroom will give the staff a place to keep copy and fax equipment, which will give Reed, family resource specialist Julie Bland and office assistant Tamela Gutierrez more room in their designated offices.
"The resource library will give people a place to create resumes and look at on-line jobs," said Reed. "They will also be able to access information on things like energy conservation and parent tips."
The facility's conference center will be used for life skills and Operation Us classes and energy and Christmas on a Budget workshops.
"We will have space to spread out for our Christmas workshops, which teach people how to make low-cost gifts," said Reed. "During those classes, we make hot chocolate mix and other presents.
"We hope to be able to offer even more classes in the new meeting room," said Reed.
The OACAC Barry County Neighborhood Center also offers family support, targeted coaching, emergency assistance, school readiness fairs, community projects and job hunting, budgeting, money management, nutrition and health management workshops.
The Barry County Neighborhood Center Advisory Board includes: Allene Patterson, president; and members Alice Outhouse, Jennifer Brattin, Nora Young, Donna Youngblood, Judy Nance, Iris Slater, Tony Mangone, Cherry Warren, Eddie Davison, Frank Washburn, June Smith and Leatrice Strother.
The Neighborhood Center will host an open house at its new facility on Sept. 25.