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YSS of Marshall County has a new place to call home

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ YSS Director David Hicks, left, takes folks on a tour of the former booking room, which will now be used to store donations for clients, such as bedding, toiletries, diapers, etc. Left to right: Hicks, Fred Lembke, City Administrator Jessica Kinser and Madi Hardman.

YSS of Marshall County on Monday acquired a building for only $35.

Director David Hicks wrote out a check to the City of Marshalltown for the purchase of the former Marshalltown Police Department building, 22 N. Center St.

YSS has been housed in the basement of that building for the past 14 months, after being displaced following the July 2018 tornado. Hicks said going back to 2017, the plan was always to find a new space for YSS headquarters that allowed for more room, as compared to its prior location at 11 E. State St.

“We looked at three or four different buildings, but nothing seemed to fit our needs,” Hicks said. “On July 18, 2018 — the day before the tornado — the City allowed us to tour the police department with our advisory board, thinking that eventually, we’d want to purchase the building if and when they moved to the new police/fire facility.”

The day of the tornado, chaos ensued for much of Marshalltown. The YSS staff of 15 found themselves working remotely and out of Hicks’ home, with materials put in storage. Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper and City Administrator Jessica Kinser discussed the possibility of allowing YSS usage of the MPD’s basement quarters until a permanent solution could be reached.

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ On Monday morning, YSS of Marshall County Director David Hicks wrote out a check for $35 to the City of Marshalltown for the purchase of the former Marshalltown Police Department building, 22 N. Center St. Pictured are city officials, YSS staff and board members and individuals from the community.

In August 2018, YSS moved into the basement conference room of the MPD. Hicks noted that he typically had five to six employees working in that room at any given time, with others working outside of normal business hours or part-time.

In November 2018, a public hearing was held to discuss the sale of the MPD building to several interested parties, but the item was tabled for further discussion. On Jan. 28, 2019, the sale was approved on behalf of YSS.

In February 2019, Nutini Architecture created artist renderings of how the space could be remodeled to better suit the needs of YSS, as compared to how the space functioned as a police department. Woodruff Construction won the remodeling bid at $119,000.

“My goal was to raise $125,000 for this remodeling effort, and as of last week, we’re at $126,500, which is huge,” Hicks said. “The Ann Keyser Trust led the way with $50,000 with more donations coming in. Long before we had this building, they said they wanted to help us buy and remodel a place to help get us started, so they held the check until we were ready.”

Remodeling work is set to commence on Oct. 1, with construction estimated to be finished by Thanksgiving.

“It’s a great moment in history. After 35 years in Marshalltown, we finally own property,” Hicks said.

In August, the MPD moved into its newly built joint facility with the fire department, 909 S. 2nd St. The MPD operated out of the 22 N. Center St. building — the former Northwestern Bell Telephone Company — since 1982.

The building connects to City Hall, so the City of Marshalltown and YSS will be working out an agreement to cover the cost of utilities. The YSS building contains a water heater and boiler room, while the elevator connects to the City Hall’s basement, Kinser noted.

“I’m excited to see their remodeling. It’s going to be work, but I’m glad the building will be repurposed,” Kinser said.

This building gives YSS roughly three times the space it had at the 11 E. State St. locale.

YSS board member Pat Kremer was credited with helping gain traction for the renovation concept.

“This is a great example of a community coming together to use a resource to help the families and children of our community,” Kremer said.

Hicks said the eventual goal is to offer basement space to fellow social service agencies as sort of a “one-stop-shop.”

In 1983, YSS, formerly known as Youth & Shelter Services, opened a branch in Marshalltown. The agency, first incorporated in 1976, also has offices in Ames, Boone, Des Moines, Mason City, Nevada and Webster City.

Some of the services YSS offers include:

• Iowa Aftercare Services Network for youth aging out of the foster care system.

• Hispanic Outreach and Translation Services.

• Crisis intervention.

• Supervised visitation.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at

641-753-6611 or

sjordan@timesrepublican.com