Hed: Renovations at S.A.F.E. offices almost complete

By Eileen Bailey

Daily Journal

Renovation work at the more-than-60-year-old building used to house S.A.F.E.'s administrative offices is near completion.

Since March, contractors have been working inside the 2,090-square-foot building, located away from the shelter that provides protective services to women and children in a nine-county area who are in crisis situations. Last year, more than 235 women and children were served by the shelter. There were 150 nonresident clients. The shelter also processed 2,266 crisis-related phone calls.

Work on the office building is expected to be completed by the end of May, said Kathy Wallace, director of the shelter. "We hope they will be finished with the inside so we can have our board meeting June 3," Wallace said.

Shelter Assistance for Families in Emergencies purchased the building three years ago with reserve funds in an effort to separate its administrative offices from the shelter.

An $82,592 grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, awarded in June 1995, was used to fund a majority of the renovation and construction work at the offices, she said. The remainder of the funds will come from the non-profit organization's reserve funds, Wallace said.

Many organizations and businesses have donated time and labor, she said. Staub, Robison and Williams architectural firm in Tupelo has donated the architectural work for the project. Frank Castles and Associates, a surveying company, also donated its services. The renovation work is being done by William Henderson and Dennis Dickey.

The building, which dates back to the 1930s, will house administrative offices, a counselor's office, conference room and a handicapped-accessible bedroom and restroom.

During the renovation, Wallace said a new roof was put on the building. She said other exterior renovations include repairing the wraparound porch, adding siding and painting.

The building itself has an interesting history. Wallace said she was told it was once the second floor of a home that stood not far from where S.A.F.E.'s offices are now located. When the tornado of 1936 struck, the second floor was lifted off the house, and the first floor was destroyed.

The home has several unique architectural features, including pocket doors, transoms and bullseye molding on the inside that Wallace said were preserved during the renovation.

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