D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s Breaks Ground On $10 Million Building as Part of Campus Integration Plan

GRAND RAPIDS — D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s broke ground last week on a $10 million multipurpose facility near the organization’s Knapp campus in Northeast Grand Rapids.

When finished in late 2022, the new building will serve as the campus cornerstone, as it integrates all children and family services under one roof, an intentional move to improve outcomes for the 7,000 children and families it serves annually. Locating all services onto one campus will save the organization $2 million over the next two decades.

Launched in August 2018, the Together for Kids campaign has raised more than $9.8 million toward the $10 million goal with the help of nearly 500 community donors, local businesses, and area foundations.  The campaign was boosted by the late David Samrick and his wife, Susan, honorary campaign chairs, as they donated a $1 million lead gift. The Samrick family and their company, Mill Steel, have been long time DABSJ supporters. A health center within the building will be named the David & Susan Samrick Health & Family Center.

When finished, the integrated campus will feature expanded programing space, administrative offices, and educational and wellness space for the children and families supported by the organization. The move to combine all services into one location is expected to bring efficiency to the continuum of care provided by DABSJ in West Michigan.

Integrated Architecture serves as the project architect. A general contractor will be selected by the end of August and no later than mid-September this year to begin construction.

The reconfigured campus will provide critical operating space, a centralized medical clinic, and classrooms, and will utilize upgraded utility systems that will save dollars over the long term. Additionally, consolidation of services will result in more efficient use of employee time and improve collaboration across the organization resulting in better outcomes for children and their families.

“In 1887 we responded to a need and never looked back,” said Mary Muliett, president and chief executive officer, D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s. “As we work each day to support children and families in our community, I am grateful and humbled by the nearly 500 donors, supporters and foundations who are making this next chapter a reality. We support more than 7,000 kids and families each year. Having one physical space that is integrated and responsive, matches our standard for what children and families need and deserve.”

The Together for Kids campaign is chaired by Jim Weaver, President, M Industries, his wife, Barb Weaver, marketing manager, M Industries, Charles Lott, Senior vice president, Wells Fargo Bank and his wife Natalie, and Beverly Grant, community volunteer, and her husband George.

“As we work to provide the very best in programs for vulnerable children and families, I am pleased to be part of an effort that improves outcomes for children from very difficult backgrounds while also saving money over the long term,” said Jim Weaver.  

“Demand for our programs is increasing,” said Beverly Grant, “Unfortunately, neglect and abuse of children in Kent County continues, and we need to provide an exceptional safe haven for youth in our area as we remain strong advocates for their care.

The campaign has received broad support from local and regional foundations, area businesses, and generous community donors. 

“We have been so fortunate to receive gifts to this important campaign,” said Charles Lott. “Our campaign cabinet is so appreciative to the community for their meaningful gifts to help us reach the finish line.”

“This is an exceptional opportunity for the community to help build a strong network of support for children and families that are struggling,” said Barb Weaver. “Consolidating all services helps the organization become more effective and efficient in caring for kids. We know that these children and our community will thrive over time.”

Formed from the merger of D.A. Blodgett for Children and St. John’s Home in 2010, DABSJ supports over 7,000 vulnerable children and struggling families through mentoring, behavioral health and family preservation, foster care, adoption, and residential treatment.  With the help of community volunteers and through more than 15 programs, DABSJ addresses a wide range of complex needs for kids and families in West Michigan, striving every day to build an ever stronger community.