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Rescue mission revises plan for new building

June 05, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The Martinsburg Union Rescue Mission announced Friday it has revamped plans to build a new building that were denied last year by the city's zoning appeals board and submitted a new application for the panel's consideration at its July meeting.

The rescue mission's revised plan for a new mission building at its property in the 600 block of West King Street proposes a 78-bed facility including both dormitory and private rooms, according to a press release from the organization.

"We went back to the drawing board after our building plans were denied by the zoning board in 2008," said Earl Stout, president of the rescue mission's board of directors. "We listened to what the zoning board and the community had to say about our original plans and took it to heart. We've come up with a revised plan that tries very hard to accommodate many of the concerns raised."

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The building proposed last year included plans for 98 beds. As many as 80 men have stayed at the current mission facility at one time, officials have said.

The new plans submitted this year include classroom space for life skills and employment training, a computer room, a telephone bank in the building's main lobby, state-of-the-art security, fire protection and environmental systems, according to the release.

The old building would be torn down so parking code requirements can be met, and a recreation area will be developed at the rear of the building, which will include picnic tables, a basketball hoop and exercise equipment, according to the release.

Terry Lindsay, the rescue mission's Long-Range Planning Committee chairperson, said Friday the organization has about $2 million for a new building and is expected to be able break ground in the spring of 2010 if their plan is approved.

Last year, Martinsburg Police Department Chief T.C. "Ted" Anderson attributed dozens of police reports to the rescue mission in advance of a public hearing held to consider the mission's proposal for a 20,000-square-foot building. That plan was projected to cost more than $3 million.

"I think we've come up with a better plan and we're trying to move forward with it," Lindsay said of the project, which first was announced in November 2005.

The rescue mission said the proposed facility would feature four dormitory banks that would allow "guest-shelter" men to sleep separately from "recovery-program" men, and men performing shift work can sleep in a dorm that accommodates their shift schedules.

Men who have progressed through the rescue mission's recovery programs and who are working in the community, enrolled in school or are holding a position of responsibility at the mission will use the private rooms, according to the new plan. Residential staff members, who monitor the security and behavior of the men on the respective floors, also would have private rooms. Lockers for daily use will be provided for all "guest-shelter" and "recovery-program" men, according to the release.

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