Family resources

Opening of a new office space for Boone County Family Resources

Boone County Family Resources staff members worked up to three deep in offices at its former location on Walnut Street.

The leaders of the social services agency have come to a conclusion.

It was time to change.

The agency purchased land on West Ash Street from MBS Book Exchange, and new 34,590 square foot office space designed by Simon Associates Inc. was built, with construction being managed by Little Dixie Construction.

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The organization held a celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday to mark its open house. Construction was completed in January 2021.

“Our new space is truly a vehicle that helps us meet the growing needs of our agency, allows us to serve more people, and helps us do what we truly love, which is helping people with developmental disabilities to thrive in the community,” said former CEO Robyn Kaufman.

Plans for the new offices began in 2016 when the council set up a savings fund, said Kaufman, who was still with the organization when construction took place.

The original plan was to expand the Walnut Street offices, but the need for a parking garage to go along with the office expansion proved too high a project cost.

The agency purchased land in November 2018 from MBS, and a tendering process followed prior to construction.

Former Boone County Family Resources Executive Director Robyn Kaufman and current Executive Director Laura Cravens participate in a Thursday grand opening of the social services agency's new offices on West Ash Street surrounded by ambassadors of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce.

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“Our design intent was to maximize the use of the property and provide a contemporary environment with flexibility to support the mission, growth, customers and staff,” wrote John Simon, architect of Simon Associates, in a communicated.

The goal was “to provide a vibrant and comfortable environment where people are happy to visit and work,” Simon wrote.

Family Resources is a social service agency founded in 1976 through a specially designated property tax levy to assist people with developmental disabilities and their families.

The Walnut Street location is not empty. It is now the home of Love Columbia.

Family Resources has three program areas: Support for Family and Community Life; life-work links; and support life. The facility also serves as the new headquarters for the Boone County Family Access Center of Excellence, which will host its own grand opening celebration next month.

Current and former staff and board members expressed their excitement at finally celebrating the official opening of the new office space.

What people can expect in the new facility

Office space at 2700 W. Ash St. includes an expandable, multi-purpose community room that can accommodate up to 150 people. It can be used for small or large agencies and community meetings.

Screens throughout the facility display general information and information about community resources.

Workspaces are flexible, including covered outdoor patios with ceiling fans, walk-in meeting rooms, and a conference room with accommodations for those who use American Sign Language.

One of many cubicle office spaces in the new Boone County Family Resources location on West Ash Street.  Each cabin has a sliding door and white noise generators on the ceiling contribute to privacy.

Other spaces include a mother’s room with a sink and a comfortable chair for feedings, a laundry room and a family toilet.

“(Family Resources) is really the connective tissue for so many people in this community. For me, it’s really special. I’ve had friends and families who have been involved as clients and engaged with ( organization) at different levels,” said Boone County Board Member and Commissioner Janet Thompson.

Family Resources is one of the few organizations in the state without a waiting list for clients, said Bob Bailey, chairman of the board.

“Quality, we have it in abundance. Every year, it’s 95 or more, our customer satisfaction rate. It’s thanks to (our staff),” he said.

Charles Dunlap covers the courts, public safety and other general topics for the Tribune. You can reach him at [email protected], or CD_CDT on Twitter. Please consider subscribing to support vital local journalism.