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Examiner
  • Changes coming to Drumm Farm campus



  • Starting this summer, the campus that houses the Drumm Farm Center for Children will be seeing some big changes that will affect these safety and security of the children and families living on the property

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  • Starting this summer, the campus that houses the Drumm Farm Center for Children will be seeing some big changes that will affect these safety and security of the children and families living on the property.
    “Drumm Farm is trying to expand its services, and in doing so, we created a master plan for the Drumm campus,” said Brad Smith, executive director of Drumm Farm. “The 20 year plan will allow us to expand housing and expand our services for those aging out of foster care as well as other things.”
    Drumm Farm was created in 1929 as a way to provide family-style homes to children in foster care. It also serves as a center for services to foster care families in Jackson County.
    The first phase of the long-range master plan will do multiple things. However, the biggest impact will be seen in the network of roads that weave through the property. One loop road will be constructed around the exterior of the property. With the construction of the new road, all of the interior roads that are now near the homes will be eliminated. A new parking lot will also be constructed on the south side of the campus near the gymnasium.
    “This will create space for the people who come in for public services,” Smith said. “These roads are basically the same as they were in 1929. We are trying to adapt the campus to today’s needs, and we are excited to be able to improve the campus for the safety and security of our kids.”
    Another piece of the first phase is a new front entrance for Drumm Farm. This entrance will line up with 32nd Street and create a safer location for a bus stop for the Drumm Farm children. An open-air structure will be constructed near the new entrance that will serve a dual purpose. During the week, it will be used as the bus stop, and on the weekends, it will house Drumm Farm’s popular farmer’s market.
    The final piece of the project is to renovate a fourth house on the campus as a home for foster children, increasing Drumm Farm’s capacity from 36 to 42. Smaller projects will include rest room facilities in the dining hall, a remodeled area for the counseling center, new sidewalks and lighting and utility improvements. All of the improvements will cost an estimated $2.4 million. Smith said the plan is to borrow against some of Drumm Farm’s assets rather than starting another capital fundraising campaign to fund the improvements.
    “We have long been concerned about the bus stop on Lee’s Summit Road,” Smith said. “The permanent structure will function as a bus stop for the kids, but will also be a great location for our farmer’s market. Once these changes are made, it will make a huge impact in terms of safety and play areas for the kids.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The goal once all these initial improvements are completed sometime in 2014 is to construct four new homes for children. These homes, Smith said, will help Drumm Farm meet the growing need of caring for foster children in Jackson County.
    “This will give us the ability to serve a lot more children. We get calls all the time to take more children, but we don’t have the space at this point. We are trying to deal with the issue and meet the need the best we can.” he said. “By creating this master plan, it will allow us to meet the growing need in the county and across the region.”
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