GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s has a new home.
The agency, which has been providing vital services to children and families for close to 140 years, on Thursday dedicated its new $14 million headquarters at the campus on Dean Lake Avenue near Knapp Street in northeast Grand Rapids.
Inside, it looks like your typical office space, but D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s President and CEO Mary Muliett says the difference is in the details. Take the design of family visit spaces, where parents who’ve lost custody of their children can have supervised visits.
“Each visit room has high-line windows for confidentiality of our families. When I’m visiting with my child, no one’s staring in the window wondering what’s happening,” Muliett said. “Cameras are rolling. However, were not back stuck in the old days of a one-way glass mirror looking int a room or having glass on a door that we’re going to peer through. “
The new building also features a history lesson on a wall at the employee entrance.
“A whole timeline of the major events are highlighted,” Muliett said.
Both D.A. Blodgett and St. John’s Home were founded in 1887, originally to serve orphaned children with foster care and other services. Over time, their mission expanded to meet additional needs.
“This building is that. It’s meeting new needs,” Muliett said. “It’s setting us up for the next chapter of an organization that has been in our community for a very, very long time. “
The new, 43,000-square foot facility brings most of the organization’s services under one roof for the first time. It has offices, a health and family clinic, more space for programming and a gymnaisum. Energy efficiency and tech upgrades are expected to save D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s some $20 million over the next 20 years.
“We have energy efficiency everywhere. We’ve really thought about each section of the building and what needs heating and cool. That’s going to save us dollars,” Muleitt said.
The doors have opened up without a mortgage. The place is already paid off thanks to a community that sees the need and opened the checkbooks.