Fashioning New Homes in Hernando
Almost a year ago, the sun streamed through the trees outside the Hope Chapel on Palmer Home for Children’s Hernando campus as our donors, volunteers, elected officials and staff gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of three new cottages. The day before, rain flooded parts of North Mississippi, forcing our celebration from the site of the new construction to inside; despite the weather, we continued our celebration.
Today, we’re excited to announce all three cottages are nearing completion! One cottage is expected to be completed within the week and the other two within a month. The new cottages mean Palmer Home can provide a home for more children on its Hernando campus, but they also mean an improved level of comfort and convenience for our children and staff.
“I feel odd calling these ‘cottages’,” said Robert Ferris, VP of Rescue. “These are 6,000 square foot custom built homes.”
Each cottage is built to accommodate up to 10 children, although most cottages will have no more than 8 children at a time. Many children who come to Palmer Home have experienced some type of trauma which can make sharing a room (or bathroom) less than ideal. The cottages are built to meet those needs, including individual bathrooms for each bedroom and most children will have their own bedroom.
“For the first time in Palmer Home history, we’ve gone with a two-story home,” Ferris explained. “We’ve traditionally built one story, ranch style cottages, but the footprint was so large. Styles across the country have transitioned to two story homes, so we made that change as well.”
Other differences between the new cottages and current cottages include two safe rooms per cottage with steel reinforced walls and ceilings, and a second master bedroom for respite houseparents.
“Houseparents work for 21 days, and then respite houseparents take over for a week. The houseparents have a master suite with three bedrooms for their family,” said Ferris. “In the past, respite houseparents have had to stay in one of the children’s bedrooms. The second master suite allows them their own space during their week in the cottage.”
In addition to the layout of the cottages, the construction includes more durable products like granite counter tops in the kitchen and bathrooms. New furniture will soon arrive, providing the final touch.
“The architectural design and layout of the campus stems from our belief that God designed everything. We want to be good stewards and do the best we can to squeeze all the value possible out of every dollar a donor gives,” Ferris added. “I don’t think there will be anything all over the country that will rival what we’re building here.”
When the cottages are completed, children and houseparents living in the current cottages will move to the new homes. As the older cottages are emptied, crews will begin to make some updates and complete maintenance on those cottages.
The construction of the cottages will allow the Hernando campus to house 24 additional children, which means as soon as the cottages open, the campus will immediately need four new sets of houseparents.
“We’re always looking for houseparents. That’s something that never ends at Palmer Home,” said Ferris. “Our kids look like everyone else’s kids, but their past experiences leave them with different issues. This requires patience, perseverance and love from those providing their care. We are the hands and feet of Christ. We want these kids to know Christ.”
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