The profile of the Good Samaritan Center of Loudon County's building in Lenoir City has changed greatly since summer.
Contractors Frontier Construction and Development are progressing well with an addition to the building that will provide 2,400 square feet of space, plus a loading dock, portal and conveyer belt to ease loading and unloading of heavy boxes.
The walls of the addition are up and flooring installed. Rooms are being painted and awaiting finish work of door facings and details. The dock is not completed.
When work began on the addition in July, a Nov. 1 completion date was expected, with move-in desired before Thanksgiving.
"It is looking good," said Eddy Shubert, GSC pantry manager, who professed he greatly anticipates the day it can be occupied. The portal and conveyer belt are especially needed for volunteers, most of whom are retirees. The larger pantry is also greatly needed.
"It's been hard," Shubert added. "We've had to store the food raised by Battle of the Bridge at Loudon County Technology Center and bring it back to the pantry a little at a time."
Executive Director Paula Roach said the work completed by volunteer Doug Nance was what helped workers survive construction of the addition.
"He did the interior work and we were able to move intake workers out of the closet," she said. "We were able to function by using the kitchen for meetings and educational classes."
Providing emergency food and help to families who are in need, the GSC is supported by local churches, businesses, organizations and individual donations and run primarily by an army of volunteers. A total of more than 200 volunteers provide clerical, social work and pantry operation.
The center's quarters have grown increasingly inadequate in recent years as the numbers of clients increased. The expansion has been a dream of the GSC Board of Directors for some time, but became a critical need in the last year with the continued economic downturn, Roach said.
The fact that the addition also will provide rental office space for service providers Salvation Army of Loudon County and Mid-East Community Action Agency will be a plus for clients as well as GSC, Roach added.
"We are very excited to have these agencies working closely with helping us improve services to our clients," she said. "It is a savings for them, with gas so high, to be able to get services in one stop." Plans are in the works for additional educational classes when the addition is finished. Budget classes provided by CredAbility may increase from monthly to weekly, Roach said.
A $200,000 low-interest, three-year loan was obtained to fund the expansion. Special fundraising efforts also are planned to repay the loan ahead of schedule.