By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News
A long-time local ministry has found a new, larger home.
The North Jefferson Women’s Center is planning to move this spring to Fultondale.
Located in Gardendale for 20 years, the ministry on Dec. 27 closed on the former Palmer Norris building on Decatur Highway in Fultondale, next to IberiaBank.
Director Nancy Shaffer said the contract was started in March. The center bought the building from FDIC for an undisclosed amount.
The move will provide the women’s center with much more space. The existing center, on Mulberry Lane in Gardendale, where it has been for eight years, has 1,300 square feet.
The new building has a total of 5,400 square feet: 3,200 downstairs and 2,200 upstairs. Shaffer said the ministry will occupy only the lower level and will possibly rent out the top floor.
“We’re very excited because it opens so many possibilities,” she said. She hopes to add group classes and Bible studies in the new facilities.
There will also be more room for the medical side of the ministry; nurses draw blood for sexually-transmitted disease (STD) testing, do pregnancy testing, and give sonograms to expecting mothers.
“I just think we’ll be able to do everything better. We will have more room and be more efficient,” she said.
There is also a Mommy Money store, which will be transferred to the new facility.
The center since it’s beginning has also implemented abstinence, or character education, courses in local schools. Shaffer said there is now a different program for every level in grades six through 12.
Plans are for the center to sell the building where the ministry is now, according to Shaffer.
There will be considerable work done to the Fultondale facility in order to bring it up to city and county codes. Shaffer said it needs repairs on the roof, brickwork and windows.
“We’re seing the hand of the Lord,” Shaffer said, adding that numerous people and businesses have volunteered to do much of the work.
Shaffer is the only full-time employee at the ministry. She oversees three part-time workers and about 30 volunteers.
She said more volunteers, including counselors, will be needed at the new facility.