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The Kitchen opens multimillion-dollar shelter

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The Kitchen Inc. this morning cut the ribbon on its new $2.25 million shelter building at the intersection of Chestnut Expressway and Glenstone Avenue.

The 14-unit temporary-housing apartment building, 1855 E. Chestnut Expressway, marks the completion of Phase I of construction at the nonprofit’s new O’Reilly Family Campus. Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau Bishop Edward Rice gave the blessing after The Kitchen CEO Meleah Spencer welcomed guests.

“Next week, we will start to move in clients into our new emergency shelter,” Spencer said at the ceremony, noting the naming rights for the shelter have not been taken. “Here at The Kitchen, we want a community without homelessness. Our first step is to provide a home, whether that means here in our new building or a permanent home in our community.”

Stephanie Ireland, the owner of project architect Ireland Architects Inc., also spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. She said the shelter’s design was inspired by recreational vehicles, tiny homes and hotels.

“I was inspired to use every single little inch of space,” she said. “Just because a space or house is small doesn’t mean it’s not a home.”

Base Construction & Management LLC served as general contractor for the project, aided by tax credits and financing from BancorpSouth.

In all, the O’Reilly Family Campus is expected to exceed $4 million and give The Kitchen the means to relocate from its seven-building, 106,000-square-foot campus on Commercial Street. There, Historic Commercial Developments LLC bought the property for undisclosed terms with plans for a mixed-use development, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

On the Glenstone Avenue side, a support services office is slated with a naming-level donation from Sam and June Hamra, Spencer said.

The Kitchen Community Development Coordinator Roz Palmer said the nonprofit intends to have the entire campus completed by early 2020.

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