For decades, Badlands Human Services Center has been tucked away in Pulver Hall, a former dormitory on Dickinson State University's campus.
Now that DSU wants to reclaim the space for its Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library, Badlands will soon be relocating to the former KLJ building, located at 1463 I-94 Business Loop E.
Jessica Odermann, the center's director, said the new location provides the Badlands staff with more space, making it easier to offer group therapy.
“The new office space will allow us to expand our behavioral health services to better serve individuals and families in southwestern North Dakota,” she said. “We will have more space for group therapy sessions, our expanded 24-hour emergency behavioral health team, and additional designated telehealth rooms.”
In the current building, the center has only one dedicated group room.
"We have two group rooms that are shared with offices," Odermann said. "When there's a group being held in those rooms, the staff member either needs to be facilitating the group or leaving."
In the new building, there will be three rooms dedicated for group therapy as well as a few other spaces that could be used for those sessions.
"We'll be able to have more groups, more variety of groups to offer clients that way we can better meet their (clients') needs. For example, we have a lot of clients who have experienced trauma or grief; we could have a group specific to grief and loss," Odermann said. " ... Right now, it's fairly limited because we don't have the space to be able to offer multiple groups. That's a big goal of ours, to increase our ability to provide groups."
Providing more group therapy would allow Badlands to serve more people, as it takes less staff to help the same number of people than with individual counseling.
The 24,00- square-foot building will be remodeled slightly to better serve the human service center's needs.
"We're constructing space rather than doing a lot of demolition ... It was just a really open space inside, so we're replacing what used to be cubicle space with office space to increase confidentiality," Odermann said.
The two lobbies will also be remodeled, into waiting room spaces.
The timeline for moving depends on the renovations and has not been finalized.
"With COVID-19, there's been some delays because the furniture company, their factory had been on pause for awhile," Odermann said. " ... We most likely will do a staggered move ... over the course of like a week or something like that so our staff can socially distance a little bit when they're moving in."
The newer building is on two floors rather than five floors at Pulver Hall, which Odermann hopes will be more conducive to collaboration.
The cost of renting the new building is just slightly over their current rent at DSU, a very important factor in the decision to choose the KLJ building.
"That was a very big consideration with regard to spaces in the community," Odermann said. "You're considering how much office space you need for almost 80 staff, plus all of that group space ... We wanted it to be a safe location; we wanted it to be inviting; we wanted to consider our cost that would be associated with renovation."
When Badlands moves out of Pulver Hall, DSU will begin its renovations of the building.
Laura Nelson, interim vice president for finance and administration, said there have been a few changes to the plans as previously reported by The Press.
"There have been a few design and space usage changes discussed since December, including the amount of space dedicated to residence life and office space and possible changes to the HVAC system," she said. "Also, depending on how all the final bids come back, we may choose to delay the completion of one floor for the time being."