Breaks ground for new building this weekend
As the need for social services in the Methow Valley has increased over the years, Room One — the valley’s primary provider of social services — has struggled with cramped quarters at its home on Lincoln Street in Twisp.
On Saturday (April 2), Room One will celebrate groundbreaking for a new building that will significantly expand the organization’s capacity to meet the needs of clients and community members.
To provide space for confidential meetings with clients, Room One staff members often have to double-up or triple-up in offices in the 2,750-square-foot manufactured home that has housed Room One since 2007.
“Our client advocate team currently shares two offices for four advocates,” said Maureen Collins, a Room One client advocate. “We spend a fair amount of time juggling office space to ensure confidential meeting space for everyone. This new building will give us the ability to see more people in a day with less risk to confidentiality.”
The new building, which will be 3,500 square feet plus a porch, will become Room One’s client services building, where staff can assist people with a wide range of needs including mental health, family support, domestic violence, legal resources, health and family planning, aging and food and nutrition.
The building will provide more meeting space to accommodate a variety of support groups and community gatherings hosted by Room One. The current building has only one room large enough for meetings. The new client services building will include two meeting rooms that can open up to become one larger space, with access to a kitchen.
“Our staff hosts parent groups, teen groups, community partner gatherings and community advisory groups,” said Kelly Edwards, Room One managing director. The larger, more flexible meeting space will allow “more creative ways” to provide workshops, trainings and support groups, Edwards said.
Public invited to groundbreaking
The community is invited to join in Room One’s groundbreaking celebration at 315 N. Lincoln Street from 10 a.m.-noon on Saturday (April 2). The gathering will be outside in the front yard, and coffee from Blue Star Coffee Roasters and pastries from Jupiter restaurant will be provided.
The expansion will also allow Room One to respond to a need that became evident as a result the last two years of COVID shutdown. “We need publicly accessible spaces for community members to use the phone and computers, given how much access is now dependent on good Wi-Fi and phone service,” Edwards said.
“When COVID hit and libraries closed, we saw a need for people to have space for logging into unemployment, DSHS [Department of Social and Human Services], and for online court hearings. We currently have only one computer available and at times that room is being used by advocates for client meetings,” Edwards said.
Room One serves more than 400 clients annually, many of them multiple times. “That number is for folks walking into our doors for direct services or via phone,” said Kat Goering, executive director. “This does not include all of our groups like mothering groups, parenting groups and the health education and prevention work that we do in partnership with the school district.”
Room One has a staff of 13, which increases with interns and post-graduate apprentices, Edwards said.
Recognizing the impact of space restrictions on service delivery, Room One began exploring the idea of expanding a few years ago, Edwards said. “We’ve been in conversations with a private foundation about infrastructure improvements and expansion since 2018. It helped to go slowly, as we needed to really hear from community members and clients what was going to be most needed,” she said.
A grant from the private foundation is funding the new building construction, which will cost just under $1 million, said Goering. “There is a second phase to the project [for another building] which will eventually take the place of the older manufactured home which houses Room One now. We have a commitment from the private foundation for the second phase of the work as well,” Goering said.
The new client services building will be constructed on the same property and next to the current building, facing the TwispWorks campus. The existing building will be demolished in the second phase of the project, Goering said.
Jim Salter from Blackcap Construction is general contractor for the new building, and he and Jeremy Newman from Intrinsic Design have been working on the project designs, Edwards said.
“We wanted to preserve the homey quality that is a defining feature of our current building, and honor the residential neighborhood in which we’re situated,” Edwards said. “The new building is designed to look like a home in the neighborhood. It is fully ADA-compliant with wider hallways and easier access into the building — no more stairs.”
“A lot of planning and careful thought has gone into the design of this building,” Goering said. “We want this space to be flexible as Room One listens and responds to the needs that surface in the community. We also want this space to be a place of connection.”
Work on lining up subcontractors and pricing materials has been underway for the past several months. “Supply chain issues aside, we hope to be moved in next spring ,” Edwards said.
“This groundbreaking is an exciting time at Room One,” said Goering, “as it is a moment to honor where we have come as an organization, and it also represents opportunities ahead for enhanced ways we can service the community.”
Room One, a nonprofit organization, was created in 1998 to provide teen pregnancy prevention services. It got its name from its first location — Room One of the Methow Valley Community Center.
Room One later moved to offices across the street, and then to the Lincoln Street building in 2007, which it purchased in 2014 through donations from two long-time supporters. Over the past 24 years, it has grown into a multi-faceted organization serving the Methow Valley through direct services, prevention education and advocacy for change.