The Daily Hampshire Gazette
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
AMHERST – There will be a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Amherst Survival Center building at 138 Sunderland Road April 13 and it could open by the end of the year, said Executive Director Cheryl Zoll.
The center, which provides about 4,000 low-income people a year with free lunches, groceries, housewares, clothes and medical care, has operated out of a cramped basement at 1200 North Pleasant St. The new 6,000-square-foot building will double the center’s space, providing room for the 70 people who eat lunch there daily, a private medical area for volunteer doctors Daniel Clapp and Paul Berman, counseling rooms and adequate parking, Zoll said.
The center, founded in 1975, bought the former Rooster’s restaurant for $265,000 in 2010. On March 14, the restaurant was torn down, and a concrete foundation will be poured before the April 13 ceremony, Zoll said. It will start at 2 p.m. and feature comments from Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, Rep. Ellen Story, both D-Amherst, and Town Manager John Musante.
“The building is possible because of incredible community support in recognition of overwhelming community need,” said Jan Eidelson, president of the center’s board. “This is more than just a building. It is a statement that everyone is precious, and it makes it possible for people to come together to get their basic needs met with dignity and respect.”
The center has raised more than $2 million for the building and hopes to reach its $2.5 million goal by the time it opens, Zoll said. It is seeking to raise the remaining $437,000 through grants, large and small donations and a mail appeal this spring, she said.
The cost of the new building is estimated at $1.55 million. The rest of the money will pay for furnishings, architects’ fees, campaign expenses and a 10 percent contingency fund. It will also replace the $200,000 that was borrowed from the center’s reserves to purchase the property.
The center’s operating budget this year is $378,000, which comes from donations and grants.
There are two full-time and five part-time staff members.