By Sadie Hunter
In the coming weeks, Janus Developmental Services, a nonprofit that provides programming and career opportunities to individuals with disabilities, will move forward with its expansion, which will more than double its current headquarters.
In September, Janus announced its purchase of the 19.2-acre Noblesville Golf & Batting Center, 17400 Willowview Rd., adjacent to the 11-acre Janus facility at 1555 Westfield Rd.
“The clients that we serve on site (approximately 115), it’s growing at an average of 10 percent per year. Our building was not built for the kind of services we provide, so (architectural firm American Structurepoint) told us it would make more financial sense to build a new building, rather than retrofitting the current one,” Janus President and CEO Chris Sorensen said. “We thought if we would have a master plan for our building, then we could kind of have a strategy.
“So we actually met with a couple of different architectural firms, but with American Structurepoint, they basically said they wanted to donate their services.”
Sorensen said Sid Davis, the original property owner, had been looking to sell.
“Our intent is that we will continue to operate this recreation area for awhile to the public,” said Sorensen, who has worked at Janus since 2012, first as vice president of operations before becoming the full-time CEO in April 2015. “We’re positive that this will serve as an employment opportunity for our clients.”
Closed since the sale Janus, Sorensen said the recreation facility — which houses a full driving range, miniature golf course and batting cages — will reopen at the end of the month or in early June.
“We want to operate this in-season as long as we can,” she said. “When we do, it’s going to go right at the (end of the driving range). It will be accessible from our current property.”
When the new building is complete, Sorensen said the organization will continue to utilize its current 50,000-square-foot headquarters.
“I anticipate with the way our transportation (services are) growing, we can use some of that space in the future,” she said.
Janus operates the Hamilton County Express public transit system, along with a smaller-scale transit system in partnership with Riverview Health for its patients.
As for the golf and batting center, Sorensen said the footprint of the new building has not been finalized, which could affect the continued operation of the driving range.
“That’s all still kind of up in the air. We’re not really quite sure how everything will progress here,” Sorensen said. “Will it make sense for us? We’re trying to be flexible and what we can take advantage of by owning this property. How can we use it best to facilitate our mission of providing our clients to participate and contribute in the community? It’s not necessarily just what we need now, but what we’ll need 20 years from now.”
Although specific details of the facility aren’t firmed, Sorensen said one of the amenities they would like to have in the new building is a commercial kitchen. Many of Janus’ clients are interested in learning about the food service industry.
After months of gathering information from focus groups, Janus will soon kick off its capital campaign to raise $4 million, which will go directly to fund construction of the new facility.
“We’ll definitely look at any type of funding sources, donations, grants, foundations,” Sorensen said.
To learn more or make a donation, visit janus-inc.org.