By: Lorrie Ward | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: October 2012
(L to R): Tia Stout, Allen Stout, Reverend Jannell Brammer and Kathy Geyer in the new Safenet Services facility.
When Safenet Services, Claremore’s shelter for victims of domestic abuse, received a $4.2 million dollar facilities grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to build a new shelter, Safenet Director Donna Grabow knew they were fortunate and was filled with gratitude. What made her gratitude even greater was the knowledge that this was the last grant the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation would bestow for the Women’s Shelters Initiative.
Thanks to this grant from Reynolds, Safenet recently moved from its older facility, which had three bedrooms and 12 beds for domestic abuse victims who were seeking shelter, to a new and beautifully crafted building located at Dupont and Chambers in Claremore, where there are 10 bedrooms and 35 beds. Donna reports that each bedroom has its own bathroom and closet space. Small details often overlooked were taken into consideration in designing these rooms – like space to store one’s own toothbrush without the possibility of it being used by others, and shelving which has been installed rather than dressers in order to reduce the risk of pinching injuries to children. Outside, there are walking trails, play areas for kids and a half basketball court, and Donna also eventually hopes to attain funding to add space for residents’ pets as well.
Details are considered all over this building, both for practical and aesthetic purposes. “Thanks to Jim Tanner, board chair, Safenet has this beautiful Arts and Crafts style architectural building, which is in keeping with much of Claremore’s current architectural style,” says Donna. The building was designed by Kinslow, Keith, and Todd, supervised by Stonebridge Group Consultants and built by Key Construction. The dark wood trim looks particularly beautiful in the huge kitchen and dining area of the new facility. The Safenet board and staff are especially thrilled with this area, as it will provide more than just a comfortable eating space for residents. “Over the years, we’ve had people who would have volunteered to help residents learn to cook, but the kitchen at the old building was too small for too many people to work in it,” she says, adding that she is hoping to see volunteer numbers go up drastically in this area.
Another room where the architecture packs an extra special impact is in the new conference room in the office area. This spacious room will serve several important purposes beyond just hosting seminars – most notably, volunteer training. “We are going to need lots of volunteers for all this space!” says Donna with a smile. The building offers plenty of office space for volunteers and employees, as well as space for specific supervised custody visits and much needed counseling, not just for the abuse victim but for children and grandparents. “This is a highly emotional time,” says Donna. “It affects so many people.”
Construction completed in August, and Safenet began operating out of their new facility beginning September 10. The change couldn’t have come too soon; Donna reports that in 2011, Safenet had to turn away 300 women and children because of lack of space, and as of August, the shelter had turned away 116 for the year 2012. “Across the state, all shelters have been full three times already this year,” says Donna. The new shelter will not only provide much needed space, but it has been designed with each important step toward the victim’s complete safety in mind. “When a victim leaves their home, their chance of being killed goes up 75 percent,” says Donna. “That’s why not skipping steps is so important.”
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