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CASA of SWMO finds new office space

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Last edited 2:38 p.m., Sept. 18, 2018

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Southwest Missouri is relocating to the National Avenue Office Park from donated space on South Glenstone Avenue.

CASA Executive Director Laura Farmer said the nonprofit is planning an Oct. 1 move to 1,600 square feet at 1911 S. National Ave., Ste. 404.

“It’s a great location for awareness, because our sign will be right there on National Avenue,” she said of the office across from Mercy Hospital Springfield, noting it has ample training space for CASA volunteers. She said the training area is a shared space in the office building, with a capacity to hold about 50 people.

CASA currently has 105 volunteers and six employees, she said. The nonprofit appoints volunteer advocates to work on behalf of abused and neglected children in the courts and foster care system. Its events include the upcoming flagship fundraiser CASAblanca, scheduled Sept. 21.

Farmer declined to disclose lease terms with National Avenue Office Park owner Diversity Commercial Investments LLC.

“They have been very generous with us,” she said.

Farmer previously told Springfield Business Journal the nonprofit was seeking a donated space or a reduced lease cost after being informed it would have to vacate its office at Preferred Family Healthcare Inc.’s 37,600-square-foot building at 1111 S. Glenstone Ave.

“It made sense to move in October during a period when we didn’t have a big fundraising campaign going on,” Farmer said. “It’s going to be a great change for our organization.”

Two other nonprofits – Girls on the Run of Southwest Missouri and The Doula Foundation of Mid-America Inc. – also had received notifications to vacate their donated office spaces in the PFH building by Jan. 1, 2019, according to past SBJ reporting.

Girls on the Run Executive Director Trish McAdams said the organization completed its move June 1. It now delivers its empowerment programs to female youth from Glenstone Square, 1722 S. Glenstone Ave., Ste. W-109. She said the group signed a lease for 675 square feet for undisclosed terms May 1.

According to past SBJ reporting, Doula Foundation CEO Kimberly Costello said her group was at risk for cutting funding in order to afford a new lease, due to the forced move. She also was looking for donated space. The Doula Foundation provides families with emotional care, advocacy and comfort before, during and after childbirth. Costello didn’t return messages seeking an update on its office status, and the Doula Foundation website still lists 1111 S. Glenstone Ave.

PFH is undergoing a restructuring in the wake of a scandal through which company employees were implicated by federal prosecutors for their roles in an alleged embezzlement scheme, according to past reports.

Reggie McElhannon, PFH spokesman, said in June two tenants, attorney Dave Davis and Christian Radio Springfield, will remain at the building to fulfill their leases. Notice for the three other groups, which had been operating at the building rent-free, was given in late April. McElhannon did not respond to questions on plans for how PFH will utilize the extra building space.

PFH provides mental health, substance abuse and medical treatment care, as well as employment services, largely through government funding via Medicaid, Medicare and grants.

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