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Project 1105 fully operational

BY LINDSEY DRILLING | SEPTEMBER 08, 2014 5:00 AM

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After two years of construction and planning, the 1105 Project is now fully operational.

The project had its first open house in October 2013 and celebrated a grand opening with a ribbon cutting on Sunday.

The building will house four local nonprofit groups: the Crisis Center, Domestic Violence Intervention Program, Free Lunch Program, and National Awareness on Mental Illness.

“This project has created an opportunity for the agencies to expand their services and to collaborate in ways that will benefit our clients,” said Kristie Doser, the executive director of the domestic-violence program.

Crisis Center Executive Director Becci Reedus said the idea for the development came after the Crisis Center found a need for more parking because of growing clientele.

“It had been vacant for a few years, and we were in need for additional parking, so that was our motivation,” she said.

Doser said the domestic-violence group decided to get involved with the project because it was also looking for more space.

“Space was just too expensive in Iowa City,” she said. “We were just bursting at the seams because all of our programs were run out of the shelter.”

The group approached the Johnson County Board of Supervisors to initiate the purchase of the building.

“They opened up the grant opportunity to other nonprofits,” Doser said. “We won the grant, and they sold the building to us for $1.”

After the building was purchased from the board, the nonprofit groups put a construction committee together.

Doser said the construction process was not easy, because the entire building had to be “completely gutted.”

Jan Leff, the board chairwoman for the Crisis Center who was involved in the construction committee, said many problems were found at the beginning of the process.

“We almost immediately found that we had mold, a leaky roof, and asbestos,” she said. “We began working with an architect for rehabilitation of this building. Then we worked with interior designers and a landscape architect. We had a very active building committee.”

The 1105 Project had a limited time to raise its capital campaign funds, because the building had to be completed before the Free Lunch Program lost its existing lease.

“We did the capital campaign in 18 months,” Doser said. “The four nonprofits together raised $1.2 million.”

All the executive directors said they believed this project will greatly help them better serve the Iowa City Community.

“It really freed up some space for board and committee meetings,” Reedus said. “It affords our clients more confidentiality.”

Mary Issah, the executive director of the local chapter of the National Awareness on Mental Illness, said while the project was a collaborative effort among all four agencies, it has “really helped raise awareness about [the agency].”

Reedus said she credits a lot of the progress to Johnson County.

“We couldn’t have done it without the community,” she said. “The support of the community has always been behind us.”


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