Created on Tuesday, 30 April 2013 Written by MANDY LOEHR
Last year in the wake of the thunderstorm and windstorm that blew through the area at the end of June, the Hi Point Women’s Center at 110 N. Detroit St. sustained extensive damage and had to close its doors to clients at that location.
At that time, representatives of the non-profit organization found ceiling tiles that were crumbling and falling to the floor, mold damage to walls and clothing items, destroyed computer equipment and soaked carpets.
A far different sight greeted employees and board members of the women’s center Monday evening during a reveal of renovations completed this spring.
ABOVE: Hi Point Women’s Center board members, staff and other guests tour the newly renovated center. Shannon Maier, far right, donated interior design services for the project. A grand reopening celebration for the public is slated for 3 to 7 p.m. May 20. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Mandi Baker, left, Hi Point Women’s Center volunteer and client, and Linda Clemmer, HPWC administrative assistant, talk Monday evening during a reveal of the completely renovated center at 110 N. Detroit St., following storm damage sustained last summer.
Since March, contractors from Double D Construction of West Mansfield have completed approximately $35,000 in restorations to rework the space that was gutted.
A local interior designer, Shannon Maier of Simply Shannon, donated her services to put fresh and inviting touches on the center on a budget of about $4,000.
Through these efforts, paid mostly by insurance funds, fresh carpeting, brightly colored walls, new furniture and framed client photos fill the space that even before the storm had a dated look, officials said.
“I was stunned to see how much it has changed,” said April Staton, executive director.
“Before the storm, the center looked like it was straight out of the 80s, as we didn’t have a budget to make big changes like this.
Child-sized mannequins dot the walls of the baby room of the newly renovated Hi Point Women’s Center, 110 N. Detroit St. Clients can purchase formula, diapers and clothes from the baby room with “baby bucks” earned through the center.
“Now the look of the center aligns with the personalities of the people who work here — warm and joyful. It’s really inviting.”
The HPWC will open to clients Monday after operating from the First Friends Church, 808 W. Columbus Ave., since the storm damage.
A grand reopening celebration for the public is slated for 3 to 7 p.m. May 20. A prayer circle is planned for 7 p.m. that evening, where attendees are invited to fill the sidewalks around the building to pray for the center.
According to the center’s Web site, www.hipointwomenscenter.com, the ministry is a life-affirming, non-profit organization that shares the love of Jesus Christ by providing practical assistance to women facing an unplanned pregnancy or the threat of an abortion.
Some of the programs offered by the organization include free pregnancy tests, educational opportunities, parent classes, peer mentoring and the opportunities to earn “baby bucks” to purchase donated children’s clothing, diapers, wipes, food, baby furniture, strollers, etc.
The local interior designer had become familiar with the mission of the center shortly before the storm when Mrs. Staton spoke at Mrs. Maier’s church, Quest Community Church. Then after hearing about the storm damage, she decided she wanted to offer her services free of charge.
Don Detrick of Double D Construction sits in the lobby area of the newly renovated Hi Point Women’s Center at 110 N. Detroit St. during a reveal Monday evening for board members and staff. Mr. Detrick’s company completed the renovations of the office space this year following storm damage last summer. EXAMINER PHOTOS | MANDY LOEHR
“It’s been a labor of love for me,” said Mrs. Maier, who also is a Bellefontaine City Schools truancy officer. “I wanted this to be a place of comfort for girls who are in crisis. I want it to be a beautiful place where they feel safe.”
“I also want to inspire April and the board members and others who work here to keep doing what they’re doing.
“As a truancy officer, I know it can be a daunting task to help those in crisis. It’s something that weighs on you. But I wanted this space to be a place that lifts up the employees and volunteers; somewhere they want to come.”
The West Liberty area resident looked at some of the tiniest of details relating to the design work, such as quotes stenciled on the walls throughout the facility. A quote in the lobby reads, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”
“I put a lot of time into the details. I wanted to add the quotes to speak to the clients’ hearts.”
After seeing all of the updates and renovations, staff and board members of the center said this natural disaster was actually a blessing in disguise.
“From the destruction that was here to what it has become, God must really have a plan for this place,” said board member Beth Brentlinger. “It’s not just going to sit empty.”
“We never thought something like this would be possible,” said Linda Clemmer, administrative assistant. “From this whole experience, we can see that our God is exceedingly able to do more than we can ask or imagine.”