“Magic of Mentoring” dinner inspires, celebrates Starfish mentors
February 7, 2009 – Hard hats are in vogue at the Starfish Initiative offices as the full building renovation began on February 3.
When completed, the entire building will have a new look. The goal of the project is to turn what was a traditional office building into a fun yet functional transition space for Scholars that is reminiscent of a college student center.
“The new office design is thrilling,” said Executive Director Joyce Johnson. “It’s a space that affirms students’ dreams, encourages learning and reinforces planning for the future.”
The renovated building, Johnson said, also has the potential to be much more than a place for Scholars. By carefully choosing the design and all the colors to be used in the building – from paint and carpet to office furniture – the office will be a “giant billboard” to tell the story of Starfish and generate community support.
The renovation project was made possible through a grant and generous donations from the businesses involved in the project. As a United Way partner agency, Starfish was able to apply for a Capital Fund grant from United Way of Central Indiana to cover more than $370,000 of the project cost. The grant, however, required matching funds. Starfish – thanks to the vision of former board member Rick Webster – secured in-kind donations from the companies involved in the project, DesignPlan Inc, Leo Brown Group, CiSolutions and d2p, a Kimball Office Select dealer, to cover the other half of the cost.
“We have been privileged to work with very talented designers who have taken our ideas and transformed them into a functional, efficient and inspiring plan,” Johnson said. “Without the designers, contractors, vendors and suppliers who have embraced this project and the mission of Starfish, this renovation would still be just a dream.”
Construction is occurring in three phases. First, work began upstairs, renovating a large training room, two previously unused offices and a new multi-person office for Scholar Specialists. Once the upstairs is completed, staff will move upstairs, to make way for refurbishing the main first floor offices, kitchen and reception area. Finally, a student/parent lounge on the first floor as well as the transformation of a first floor garage into a multi-function Commons meeting room will finish off the renovations.
Additional meeting space is a priority for Starfish because with tutoring and meetings for students and mentors, more than 25 meetings or events are held each month at Starfish. Moreover, the transformation of the garage to a meeting room will make the Starfish facility ADA compliant. Other ADA compliant features such as handicap accessible restrooms will be included in the construction and renovation.
The full project is expected to be completed in late April and a grand re-opening celebration and open houses will be held in late spring.