The Bell Center Announces $8.6 Million Campaign Goal and Breaks Ground on New Facility
The Bell Center for Early Intervention Programs announced its $8.6 million campaign goal for an 18,000 sq ft facility at the site’s ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday. The event marked the start of Brasfield & Gorrie’s construction on the Homewood facility, which will serve infants and toddlers who are at risk for developmental delay. Campaign Co-Chairs Jill V. Deer of Brasfield & Gorrie and Benny M. LaRussa, Jr. of Sterling Capital Management announced $7.6 million has been raised to date for the Right from the Start Campaign.
“Outstanding response from lead gift donors in record time allowed the construction to move forward quickly,” explained LaRussa. “Campaign commitments to date of $7.6 million from 174 donors allow us to pursue a challenge goal of $8.6 million, including much needed specialized equipment and programs for our children.”
Deer continued, “We are now passing the baton to Major Gifts Co-Chairs Lessie Brady, Justin Bryant and Key Hudson to complete the campaign solicitations to reach our challenge goal.”
Since 1984, The Bell Center has provided crucial center-based early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and developmental delays using a transdisciplinary approach unique to Alabama. More than 1,500 children have been served by thousands of therapy hours through eight Bell Center programs.
The new facility will feature three infant therapy rooms, including one designed for medically fragile infants, and three toddler classrooms. Other features of the building include a small group instruction room, a sensory room, a developmentally appropriate playground, and enlarged parent viewing rooms. Also included in the building will be a dedicated office for The Service Guild of Birmingham, the women’s volunteer organization which, along with Betty Bell, founded the program in 1984.
“We are so excited about today’s groundbreaking,” said Jeannie Colquett, executive director of The Bell Center. “Our staff have done an amazing job though the years in providing quality early intervention services in what is literally a retrofitted 1970s office building. But this new building will support our vision for increasing the number of children served, elevating our services to an even higher level, and the children and families whom we serve will benefit.”
The Bell Center provides crucial early intervention services, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and early childhood special education services in a center-based setting. Currently more than 100 children from throughout the central Alabama area receive services at The Bell Center each year. Children who attend have diagnoses ranging from cerebral palsy and Down syndrome to autism spectrum disorder and rare genetic disorders. Children are not required to have a diagnosis, and many children who were born prematurely or as a set of multiples are considered at risk for developmental delay and also benefit from the services provided at The Bell Center.
LIVE Design Group is the architect and Perry Design is the interior designer of the new facility. Brasfield & Gorrie will serve as general contractor for the construction of the two-story, 18,000 sq ft building and adjoining parking lot located at 1700 29th Court South in Homewood, where the program has operated since 1994. The 10-month projected construction timeline will allow The Bell Center to occupy the new facility in summer 2019. The Bell Center is temporarily operating from Trinity West Homewood United Methodist Church.