Sep. 1—MARIETTA — Construction on the new $6.8 million men's campus of The Extension, a nonprofit relief program for those who are homeless and struggling with addiction, is scheduled to be complete in July of 2023.
The new facility being built on Church Street Extension will have 56 beds, a meeting room, a cafeteria and recreational areas. The building will replace the old facility, which once housed the Georgia Marble Company.
The Extension, which opened in 1987 as the Marietta-Cobb Winter Shelter, offers different types of aid, including case management, clinical and 12-step based therapy and anger management classes. The residents are required to also work a full-time job while engaging in these activities.
Fundraising for the building started in February 2021, with construction starting in April of this year.
As the current center filled up to capacity, and the Extension found itself having to turn away more than 500 people over a year's span to different locations, executive director Tyler Driver saw the need to grow the center beyond its confines of the old marble company building.
"As the threat to our community from addiction grew bigger, we knew we had to grow bigger in response," Driver said.
Initial funding for the center was raised following the organization's building solutions campaign, which saw a donation of $1 million from AssuranceAmerica, a longtime partner of The Extension. The rest of the cost came from a capital campaign, but the cost estimate changed "almost overnight," according to Driver.
"As we got closer to reaching our original goal, we thought, based on market conditions, that we would see a cost increase," said Driver. "It turned out to be a $1 million increase."
Those in the community who donated remained committed to the goal, Driver said, and the center is now less than $200,000 away from reaching its new goal of $6.8 million.
The addition will bring the bed total up to 91 between the men's and women's center, with 14 off-site beds also available, according The Extension's website. The women's campus, located at 130 Holiday Street, has 21 beds on hand.
The new center will serve thousands of men in the Cobb County area, as well as offer support to their families and extended relatives, Driver said. With Kennesaw Mountain sitting in the backdrop of the campus, Driver likened the fight the men at The Extension face to struggles experienced on the battlefield.
"Never since the battle that made that hill famous have so many men fought so hard in its shadow," Driver said. "This new building means that the fight will be won by more men in our community."
Cork Howard Construction, along with C.W Matthews, are performing site work and general contracting services free of charge, the MDJ previously reported. The crews are currently setting the structural steel of the building, which will take a couple of months, according to Joe McGuire, superintendent of Cork Howard.
Following this, they will start pouring the next round of concrete slabs, which they hope to start doing in November.
McGuire was quick to lend a hand with this project, saying he enjoys being a part of something so impactful to the community.
"Being able to do this job for such a good cause is awesome," said McGuire.