Collaboration, Revisioning Drives Plans for UCC Crossroad Child and Family Services

The United Church of Christ’s Crossroad Child and Family Services in Fort Wayne, Ind., may soon have a new look and feel to it, and increased services for families and children.

In addition to the purchase of some of the Crossroad land by Byron Health Center, also in Fort Wayne, the Crossroad campus has submitted conceptual redevelopment plans for the agency’s 135-year-old campus to the Fort Wayne Planning Commission.

“They are plans as to what we might like to do in the future as we look to expand in the future,” Randall J. Rider, president and CEO, told the Journal Gazette. The plans include no timetable or cost estimate at this time.

The application included blueprints showing three new buildings plus additional parking. The buildings include a 10,000-square-foot dormitory, a 13,750-square-foot administrative support and outpatient treatment facility, and a “future building” of 5,000 square feet.

To make room for the new construction, four current buildings would be torn down: a treatment residence; a building to house staff offices and a dining room; a cottage used by the former superintendent; and a building currently not in use.

The plans also call for the repurposing of some of the land, including the space used for a swimming pool closed years ago, which would become a new dining area and community meeting space, said Rider to the newspaper.

Crossroad Academy, the alternative school for some 75 children and youth, will remain in its current building, he added.

“Our history is we were an orphanage and then a children’s home before becoming a treatment center, and we found (some of) our buildings weren’t sufficient for children with significant emotional issues. So we are going to remove those and build buildings that are more suitable,” Rider said.

Byron Health Center earlier had announced plans to purchase about 15 acres at the southern end of the approximately 40-acre Crossroad campus in order to relocate there. The center serves adults who require long-term assisted living or skilled nursing as a result of traumatic brain injury, intellectual disability, Huntington’s disease or various dementias. Rider told the Journal Gazette that he envisions the campus renovation as part of a developing “treatment corridor for people with special needs.”

In a statement in Crossroad’s annual report for 2015-16, Rider said “a significant reversal” was occurring in the need for intensive residential treatment for children related to trauma from parents’ drug addiction. “Today, every operational bed at Crossroad is occupied, and every residential living unit has a very long waiting list,” he wrote then.

He added the agency was committed to building staff — currently at about 110, services and facilities “to help us meet as much of that need as we possibly can.”

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