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Jamestown’s Anne Carlsen Center plans to move

JAMESTOWN — The Anne Carlsen Center board of directors plans to move the Jamestown campus to a new facility after 73 years at its current location at Horseshoe Park.

The board and campus management are in an intensive planning effort called the Pathways to the Future Project to build a new center on a 15-acre lot the center owns on the east side of the Jamestown Regional Medical Center in 2016 or 2017.

The center provides community-based services for children and adults with disabilities.

CEO Eric Monson said that much of the current campus is the original structure from 1941 and that the center has outgrown some parts of the building.

“Our organization has done a great job in terms of keeping it up and serviceable, but we also have some rather distinctive space changes that are required and special updates in classrooms and therapy (rooms) and so forth,” Monson said. “… We also looked at a project of staying in place and doing an extensive remodel of the existing facility. We continue to look at that, but it seemed that would introduce a level of complexity, and we probably wouldn’t be able to do that.”

Monson said the building had been mechanically and electrically evaluated several years ago, and much work would have to be done to continue offering a growing demand for the center’s services. The building also lacks adequate office space, and the heating and cooling systems need updating.

The campus employs 310 full-time and 47 part-time workers, and 165 full-time and 46 part-time employees through the community services office that is located in northeast Jamestown. Monson said he expects those numbers to go up with the new facility.

“The entire campus may not move. We may have some of our services here and some in a new structure near the Jamestown Regional Medical Center,” he said.

With the center’s close proximity to the James River, Monson said the water table under the center is rather high and can affect the staff’s ability to perform upkeep and maintenance on the campus’ therapy pool.

On March 23, 2009, the entire campus had to be evacuated due to flooding, and classes and residents were moved to other locations.

The basement of the center’s guest house was destroyed, and the campus was closed until June 11.

“This move has little to do with flooding,” Monson said. “... It has to do with the age of the building and the need to design differently for the types of services that we offer and for the youngsters we work with here. We have an expanding young-adult population here, and it looks like the demand for those services will continue.”