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Hampshire special services center opens new facility

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By Marla Pisciotta
For The State Journal

The newly renovated 30,000-square foot Hampshire County Special Services Center will open for business the end of February.

HCSSC purchased the facility in 2011 to extend capability of increasing its number of clients. The center's purpose is to offer jobs to people with intellectual disabilities.

After the purchase in 2011, plans were made for the renovation, and the multi-faceted expansion is now complete. A 3,500-square foot area will be used as a cafeteria, complete with an adjoining kitchen.

Staff members will be serving breakfast and lunch to clients who qualify for the child and adult nutrition program. Plans include starting a retail store in another 3,500-square foot area set aside for that purpose. Hopes are to have that store open by year's end.

"I'd like the store to be managed by my clients that graduate and transition to that service, which would move into an employment opportunity," Executive Director Kevin Sanders said.

The new facility includes a transitional training room and an area dedicated to remembering past clients and sponsors. An arcade and resting area touts a pool table, an arcade game and numerous Sony Playstation units, games and a television.

Work on the new building began in November with local contractors. Kline's Custom Homes in Augusta was the general contractor on the renovation. Rural Aire of Keyser installed the heating, ventilation and air conditioning. J & S Electric in Moorefield was in charge of the electric work, and Brewer & Co. of Morgantown installed the fire alarm and sprinkler systems.

The service currently has 100 clients and 34 regular employees. Sanders said the center is always looking for new contract work.

"We provide assembly work for small scale companies," Sanders said. "As we grow we certainly will be hiring people into positions as is necessary."

The goal at the center is to be able to move people up in skill levels to be able to operate computers or even electric saws.

An open house celebration will take place at 10 a.m. Feb. 21 in the center's new facility located in Romney Business Park.