Highland News Leader

Land donated for new pregnancy options center in Highland

Pete and Jane Korte, shake the hand of the Relevant Pregnancy Options Center board president Paul Dunker and executive director, Tricia Blasdel. The Korte’s have provided the center with the two lots needed to build their new building. The organization has been working expand their facility, and Blasdel said the lots were the deciding factor in their affordable construction.
Pete and Jane Korte, shake the hand of the Relevant Pregnancy Options Center board president Paul Dunker and executive director, Tricia Blasdel. The Korte’s have provided the center with the two lots needed to build their new building. The organization has been working expand their facility, and Blasdel said the lots were the deciding factor in their affordable construction. Courtesy photo

After 22 years and six moves, the Relevant Pregnancy Options Center will finally have a permanent home.

Pete and Jane Korte of Highland, owners of Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, recently said they would provide two lots, located on Plaza Drive north of the volleyball court at E.L. Flanagan’s, on which the center can build a new facility. The center hopes to start construction next month.

“It seemed like everything just seemed to fall into place,” said Tricia Blasdel, the executive director of the pro-life, not-for-profit organization which provides pregnancy options and continual care and support for couples experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.

Blasdel said that, in the past year, Relevant’s clientele has more than doubled, which made it difficult to operate at its previous location on Pine Street in Highland. The center also did not have a space exclusively for its “dad’s ministry” and had limited storage. Those circumstances drove the organization to realize that its current building was not meeting their needs.

So, about a year ago, the center launched what was to be a three-year campaign to raise $350,000 for a new facility.

However, the plan was soon put into hyper-drive after the center’s landlord made it clear that the organization would have to relocate. Relevant has shared space in the same building as Wicks Aircraft. But the family business was expanding and needed the space back.

“They are wonderful tenants. Their needs and ours have worked well together, and we hate to have this happen,” said Scott Wick, president of Wicks Aircraft, told the News Leader in November. “We are very supportive of their cause. We need that space, and they said they needed a bigger space, so the decision was timely. Their needs are changing, and we can’t give them what they need.”

This meant that the center only had a few months to raise a huge amount of cash for a new building. According to Blasdel, the task seemed almost unattainable, and with an approaching deadline, the ministry was starting to feel the heat.

“There were a lot of sleepless nights,” Blasdel said.

Then, everything seemed to fall into place, Blasdel said. The center started seeking donations, online and elsewhere, and ended up receiving about $150,000 from a combination of donors. Then came the land donation.

“When that happened, we could build cheaper than we could buy,” Blasdel said.

Building plans

The center is now moving forward with getting city approval for its construction plans. Blasdel hopes to turning dirt on the project sometime in April.

K-Five Contracting of Pocahontas is the contractor for the project.

For now, the organization is picking up and moving to the building that used to house Wallpapers Ready To Go-Custom Interiors, located at 207 Suppiger Lane, Suite 100. According to Blasdel the ministry is expecting to stay at that location for about five to seven months, until the construction is done.

Raising funds

Blasdel said the center now has about two-thirds of the money needed to finish the project. To avoid taking out a mortgage, the ministry is hoping to raise the rest before construction is completed.

“How exciting would that be if people could come together and help us reach our goal,” Blasdel said. “That would be amazing.”

The center will be having its biggest fundraiser of the year on March 9. The event is a banquet called “Celebration of Life.” The annual event generates about 70 percent of the funds to run the center for the year. The night also features a guest speaker and an appeal to the community to give, maybe a little more this year.

“Highland supports us very well,” Blasdel said. “They are a very giving community.”

Blasdel said that both one-time gifts and monthly gifts will be accepted. Anyone not attending the banquet wanting to make a donation can contact the ministry office at 618-651-3732 or come straight to the temporary location on Suppiger Lane.

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