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Big Brothers Big Sisters in new quarters

November 19, 2004|by JANET HEIM

janeth@herald-mail.com

While the need to move to a new location took the staff and board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County by surprise, there's been no looking back.

"We're just tickled to be here," said Executive Director Bob McKee.

They celebrated their new location at 1135 Virginia Ave. in Hagerstown with an open house on Saturday, Nov. 6.

The offices are in the previous location of Dr. Paul McAllister's dental practice. With four employees on staff, the agency had outgrown the space at 16 W. Franklin St. that it had leased since 1992 and there had been discussions with the board about problems with the downtown location, McKee said.

It wasn't until the landlord put the building up for sale and made the decision not to extend the lease that they started to search for a new space.

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McAllister's office met all their criteria - in Hagerstown, on the County Commuter route, and with off-street parking and prominent signage.

Individual offices, a private meeting room and a bright work space also were important.

The second floor was set up as a three-bedroom apartment with full bathroom and kitchen, which provides ample storage space and a roomy area for meetings and informational sessions. Another advantage is that the building is the only commercial building in a mostly residential area, which makes it easy to find.

McKee said it's been easier to attract board members in the new location. "We're still in Hagerstown - we didn't abandon Hagerstown. We're just not downtown," McKee said.

The organization has a five-year lease.

"This building meets our needs completely," McKee said. "I know one thing. I never want to move again."

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