The Alberni Valley Hospice Society (AVHS) will be moving into a new building in the new year. The society has purchased a former kindergarten building in the 2500-block of 10th Avenue with the intention of moving its offices from Third Avenue, project lead Teresa Ludvigson said.
The AVHS took possession of the building on Dec. 21.
“It’s exciting,” Ludvigson said. The vacant building, at 2579 10th Ave. in Port Alberni, will be a permanent location for the administration offices, community education, hospice volunteer training, the Reflections program, grief and bereavement counselling and support services, Healing Touch, Reiki and other holistic health services.
The AVHS provides support, education and advocacy to individuals and their families facing life-limiting illness, death and bereavement. In addition to offices presently located on Third Avenue, the society also provides residential palliative care at Ty Watson House Hospice on Second Avenue. The move to the 10th Avenue building will not affect services at Ty Watson House.
“At Ty Watson House our counsellor has a small space. This (new building) will enable us to increase programming and reach more people here,” Ludvigson said.
The move means the hospice society can now operate in an updated, energy-efficient, modern building once renovations are complete. Instead of paying rent and utilities, they will invest that money in a mortgage.
“This is a strategic build for us,” Ludvigson said. “This will be our forever home.”
“What we needed was a building that is wheelchair accessible. We want to increase our program service delivery so we needed a bigger space,” Ludvigson said during a recent tour of the building. She is the fund development officer for the hospice society, and is taking the lead on the building project.
The 3,300-square-foot building will undergo an extensive renovation to accommodate program delivery needs. The new space gives the hospice society nearly 1,000 square feet more space.
This purchase is part of the charity’s strategic plan, and has been enabled through the generous bequests of various Port Alberni community residents, Ludvigson said.
“This acquisition provides a permanent and safe work environment for our staff and volunteers and positions our society to reach more individuals while we grow our community programs,” AVHS board chair Jenn Collette said.
Executive director Theresa Maxmenko is looking forward to moving into the new building in 2019. “After 36 years of providing services to Port Alberni, I am so excited that Hospice finally has a permanent home to continue providing compassionate care to our community,” she said.
The hospice society is already talking to a number of local contractors about the 10th Avenue renovation. “We hope to have a general contractor selected in January,” Ludvigson said. “We’re hopeful they can start at the end of January and it’s a three-month renovation project.”
The 10th Avenue property also housed School District 70’s Girl’s Project for a number of years. The property was put up for sale by the school district in 2017.
Ludvigson said the hospice society bought the building from a private seller, not the school district.