Sunday, June 18, 2000

Newport shelter nearer opening

Autumn is target

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — From the outside, the new shelter for the Women's Crisis Center appears as yet another brick residence. From the inside, there are hints of the building's special purpose.

        Mary Jo Davis, executive director for the Covington-based center, is excited about the four-level shelter that could open by fall. It has been under construction since last summer.

        “There's a sense of intimacy and security,” said Ms. Davis, walking through the shelter earlier this week.

        The drywall had recently gone up, leaving proof that there will be eight bedrooms, four bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, dining area, staff lounge and several offices. The shelter will serve 30 women and children at full capacity.

        The building also will have an elevator, study rooms, plenty of windows and a playground outside. The Northern Kentucky Quilters Guild is making quilts for many of the rooms.

        Security has not been ignored. There is surveillance equipment, and the shelter will have a direct hook-up to the Newport Police.

        The goal is to provide a comfortable — and safe — haven for abused women and their children, say center officials. Abused women face a 75 percent greater risk of death when they leave their abuser, they say.

        “It's a community building in a residential frame,” said Kim Patton of GBBN Architects in Cincinnati.

        The center kicked off a $1.5 million campaign to build the new shelter about a year ago. It will replace a Highland Heights facility that serves about 500 women and children a year. The average stay at the Highland Heights shelter, which is in a commercial setting, is two weeks.

        Center officials had wanted for some time to move to a more residential area. Their desire increased when the Highland Heights facility came under new ownership and the lease was not renewed.

        The center is now leasing the Highland Heights facility on a month-to-month basis. That shelter will close upon the opening of the Newport building.


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