- Associated Press - Friday, April 22, 2016

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) - A nonprofit serving people with disabilities has opened a new education and family engagement center that replaces one destroyed by a tornado in 2013.

Bona Vista Inc. celebrated the grand opening of its Imagine That! Innovation Center on Wednesday by releasing blue and green balloons. The opening comes about 18 months after construction first began on the building.

Staff members who dedicated the new building told the Kokomo Tribune (https://bit.ly/1MMJM9j ) that the storm gave them a chance to revamp and expand the location.

“This was an opportunity that we took to really just create a building for the people that we serve,” said Adria Snoddy, vice president for donor development at Bona Vista Inc.

The old building was used for children’s programming and administrative offices. The new building will be used for adult programming, family engagement, staff training and conferences.

“The needs of the adults in this building are significant; they are mostly physically and cognitively challenged adults and have a lot of health care needs,” said Bona Vista President and CEO Jill Dunn.

Before, the building provided only two small classrooms with no exterior lighting where multiple activities took place, so there wasn’t enough functional space, Snoddy said.

But now the building features a more light an airy design with large windows overlooking the neighborhood, allowing the adult program’s participants to interact with the community in their own way, Dunn said. The new rooms also offer more space for arts and crafts and exercising.

“The building was designed with a lot of purpose . the sensory and visual needs of the adults,” Dunn said.

Bona Vista has provided programs and created awareness on behalf of residents with special needs in the Kokomo community for over 50 years.


Information from: Kokomo Tribune, https://www.ktonline.com

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