The new headquarters and shelter for The Junction of Denton County is expected to be ready to operate in December 2022 following $8.8 million in reconstruction costs. The Junction’s new building would have four wings — the commercial kitchen, program services, emergency shelter and enhanced shelter.
The Junction is a newly formed organization that combines the Monsignor King Outreach Center and Our Daily Bread Denton.
The city purchased a former nursing home building in 2020 with the purpose of finding a new space to house resources for people experiencing homelessness. The 34,000-square-foot building at 909 N. Loop 288 is gutted and requires total reconstruction from the inside, project manager Dani Shaw said.
Roy Metzler, one of two presidents of The Junction, said they’re thankful for everyone who helped pave the way for the new building.
“We are excited and eager to get to work in the new building,” Metzler said. “We are looking forward to a future of helping so many more people in need. At the same time, we are very grateful to anyone who in the past years donated to or volunteered at ODB or MKOC. Their generosity paved the way for this project to happen.”
Shaw said they hope construction will begin this summer with a completion date of December 2022. It’s a pricey project, but Shaw said in a presentation to City Council on Monday that they’ll be saving money and time doing the construction all at once rather than breaking it up into phases.
“Our estimate is [we’re] saving about $1.1 million just on construction costs because we’d be able to do certain things at the same time versus three separate times, plus escalation costs,” Shaw said.
Those behind the project don’t yet have a rendering for what the exterior would look like, but Shaw said it will largely look the same. Inside, the building has been gutted down to the skeleton. When officials bought the building, she said they knew they would have to clear out the asbestos and make repairs to the roof.
The land and building purchased for the shelter bring the city’s holdings in that area to 5.1 acres. Besides the shelter, city Chief of Staff Sarah Kuechler said they don’t have current plans for the rest of the land.
According to the presentation, they also would be saving an additional 11 months of construction. On top of the $8.8 million for reconstruction, the city spent about $3.4 million to purchase the building.
“The longer we wait to do certain parts of the construction, the higher the cost gets,” Shaw said. “That’s really because the construction costs here in DFW are increasing rapidly, almost 1% per month. If you wait a full 12 months to do a project, you can estimate it’ll be an additional 12% [in costs] because you’ve waited.”
There’s currently $2 million set aside for the project from the city’s budget, and The Junction has committed about $880,974. A sale of the Monsignor King Outreach Center building, which the city owns, would bring in about $585,000 more.
Shaw said the county government has an interest in the building.
“We’re hopeful that [an agreement] will come through soon,” she said.
The remaining $5.3 million for the project would come from bonds and other federal options.
The organization will be able to offer up 152 beds — 120 divided among 10 rooms in the emergency shelter and 32 beds in 18 rooms in the enhanced shelter. The enhanced shelter is meant for clients who are transitioning and seeking more permanent housing options.
The dining hall is at the center of The Junction’s plans and will be able to hold more individuals during inclement weather.
“Every individual who’s going to enter the shelter will work on case management, even in the emergency shelter,” Shaw said. “[Enhanced shelter] folks would adjust by taking the next step.”
The 152 beds will be more than double the number of beds currently available in Denton for people experiencing homelessness, especially during the pandemic. Both The Junction and Salvation Army had to scale back capacity in their shelters to comply with COVID-19 precautions.
“It would be a significant increase, especially over COVID,” Shaw said.
Together, the Monsignor King center and the Salvation Army currently house about 60 people. The shelters have had fewer beds available since last year because of the need for social distancing. Another 40 beds are available at a local hotel that the city has a voucher for to make up for the beds lost due to the pandemic.
“We have the program set up to operate until September, but we’re monitoring conditions of the pandemic,” Shaw said. “We may be making adjustments over time.”
While construction on The Junction site is expected to be completed by October 2022, the shelter would not be ready for business until December, after furniture, equipment and fixtures are in place.
Under the current timeline, the city will finalize the construction design and cost with an architect in the summer, with construction proceeding throughout the next year.