COUNCIL BLUFFS — Children’s Square U.S.A. officials broke ground Wednesday on a new residential treatment complex at the north end of the nonprofit organization’s campus, at North Sixth Street and Avenue E.
The complex — part of the organization’s $9 million “Better Spaces, Brighter Futures” fundraising campaign — will be in the grassy area north of the Lemen Visitor Center.
Supporting facilities and programs for the organization’s clients is a good investment, said Carol Wood, president and CEO of Children’s Square.
“Every dollar spent makes a difference in these young people’s lives and in our society,” she said. “Seventy-five percent of all mental health issues begin before age 24. The ability to treat and respond to those conditions expands every single day and every year.”
The new 23,880-square-foot complex will include three cottages — two for boys, one for girls — and a shared multipurpose area. Bids for site prep and construction will be accepted in the next month, Wood said.
The organization’s residential program provides a group living and learning environment for children who have emotional and behavioral problems requiring placement in a 24-hour structured program. The new residences will replace three existing dormitories that are outdated and no longer meet the organization’s safety, supervision and security needs.
Renovating the existing dorms simply wasn’t practical, Wood said.
“Two architectural firms studied it, and they said it’s best to just start over,” she said. “I just think, as a parent, you feel better about leaving your kid then, and the kid feels more valued.”
The campaign has raised about 91 percent of its goal, Wood said; about $800,000 is still needed.
Mayor Matt Walsh called the support another illustration of the city’s generosity following other recent projects.
“We are a small community, but our capacity to give is large,” he said.