UMFS, a statewide non-profit organization specializing in child and family services, is undergoing major renovations at its West Broad Street campus. New renovations and an expansion of its school are being funded in part by the sale of Guardian Place, an affordable seniors’ community on its site.
UMFS has operated programs for high-risk and vulnerable children off its campus at 3900 W. Broad St. since 1900. The organization is best known for its child welfare services. It added Guardian Place, an affordable assisted living community, to its campus in 1994.
UMFS recently sold Guardian Place to a multi-family developer, Fairfield, for $25.6 million. The funds from this sale are helping with two expansion projects.
Guardian Place is a two-building facility located on the Broad Street campus with 236 apartments on 6.5 acres. UMFS CEO Nancy Toscano said the nonprofit sold the building to expand its services to young people.
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“Guardian Place was part of UMFS, but it was a little different than anything else we did. We felt like if we found the right buyer who was focused on affordable senior living, it could be a win-win situation for the residents and UMFS,” Toscano said, adding that it was important for UMFS to find a buyer who intended to keep the property as a housing complex. affordable for seniors.
“It took almost a year to find the right buyer,” Toscano said. ” We chose [Fairfield] because they intended to keep it as affordable housing for seniors and had the track record to back it up.
UMFS said all Guardian Place staff will continue their jobs during the change in ownership.
In addition to the $25.6 million proceeds from this sale, UMFS worked with donors to cover the construction costs of the two new additions.
UMFS recently opened an $11 million renovation of its Child and Family Healing Center. This long-standing residential treatment program provides trauma-informed care for youth struggling to overcome emotional and behavioral challenges. The recently renovated building can accommodate up to 50 children. This building was the first of two phases of UMFS’s capital campaign to update its campus.
The second phase is an addition to the non-profit organization’s Charterhouse School, a specialized educational program for K-12 young people with special needs.
“We really overshot our setup,” Toscano said. “We use different buildings on our campus to manage overflow, but this new addition helps us grow and provide a better environment.”
The new school construction will include approximately 10 classrooms, a state-of-the-art dining hall for children in residence and a recreation area. The new classrooms will include vocational classes in subjects such as cosmetology, technology, culinary arts and horticulture.
“Our whole mission is to serve vulnerable children. The way we define that is kids who can’t succeed in typical traditional settings,” Toscano said. “Sometimes it’s about finding a career path. That’s why we have more specialized classrooms and programs designed for kids who might not go to college, but need a career path that will help them succeed as adults.
UMFS says it expanded its 150 students into spaces on its campus and needed additional space. A typical public school may have classes of 25 to 30 students. UMFS class size is around eight students and has supports such as teaching assistants, nurses, or reading specialists.
UMFS expects the Charterhouse School addition to open in August. The estimated cost of this addition is between $11 and $12 million.