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Family crisis shelter to triple in size in Williston

WILLISTON, N.D. -- Family Crisis Shelter Director Lana Bonnet receives a hard hat and golden shovel to commemorate the groundbreaking of a new facility that will triple the number of beds available.

WILLISTON, N.D. -- Family Crisis Shelter Director Lana Bonnet receives a hard hat and golden shovel to commemorate the groundbreaking of a new facility that will triple the number of beds available.

To some it may seem like broken earth but to others it is a dream that has been years in the making.

With golden shovels in hand, the construction crew, architects, and most importantly, the women committed to the Williston Family Crisis Shelter, tossed the first shovelful of dirt to celebrate construction plans for a new 9,800 square-foot facility finally off the ground.

The land was purchased last August after five years of searching for the right location, and has taking the shelter nearly a year to lift the red tape to begin construction.

Even with excavators from First Dakota Enterprises at the ready and clearance to level the property, the shelter is waiting for approval from the Williston Planning and Zoning commission for additional permits. Hulsing & Associate Architects has assured the shelter it should be any day now.

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The architects have amended some of the design plans to comply with Planning and Zoning requests, like adjusting placement the facility and reducing the living quarters by 400 square feet.

The initial estimates for the construction project was $1.7 million, but has since risen to $2.4 million with building details flushed out. Given the sensitive nature of their facility, the service providers insisted on state-of-the-art security.

While much of the funding stemmed from a trust put in place by the late Austrid Crighton, $500,000 was also received from a grant from Governor Jack Dalrymple. The Family Crisis Shelter was one of three facilities to receive the grant.

Last August, Facility Director Lana Bonnet and Direct Service Providers, Julia Kourajian Bush and Tana Hinriksen, said they were already mulling over how to best commemorate part of the facility to Crighton.

Bonnet said the current facility has operated at max capacity since 2012, even though the shelter continually cycles through clients in need. The shelter often puts families in hotels until other arrangements can be made, but the new facility would eliminate the additional expense that could be conserved for other uses.

The new 37 bed shelter will be located at 3717 University Ave. and is expected to be operational in the next 10 months, if they are without hiccups along the way. The building will include overnight quarters for the staff, and a for room men or for those who need a wheelchair-accessible, “whatever is needed at the time.”

“It doesn’t seem real, but it’s really happening,” Bonnet said. “I’m just so happy right now.”

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