Unsafe building forces NSO move

3/30/2012

Battered by old age and new road construction, the building that Neighborhood Services Organization (NSO) has called home for nine decades must be razed in Oklahoma City.

On April 15, a Service of Thanksgiving will be held at the property, 431 S.W. 11th. Bishop Robert Hayes Jr. will speak at the 3 p.m. public program on the east lawn.

Reservations are encouraged by contacting Anne Harber, 405-236-0413, ext. 305, or aharber@nsookc.org.

The building first served as a church; its cornerstone is stamped 1916.

Then Methodist women established a comprehensive community center there in 1920, and NSO has grown exponentially. The nonprofit agency recorded 72,000 client visits last year.

Recent construction work on the new Interstate 40 route, about a block north, rattled the area. Then an engineering assessment deemed the aged building unsafe, and NSO had to move.

In late March, the organization was busy relocating its administrative offices and dental clinic to a temporary site 4 miles south, at 8101 S. Walker Ave.

NSO plans to return to the original property. After the existing building is demolished, a modern one-story structure will take its place. The dental clinic will be five times larger and feature five operatories.

NSO is in the early stages of a $2.5 million capital campaign to construct its new home. United Methodist volunteers helping lead the campaign are co-chairmen Sam Bowman, a former Oklahoma City councilman, and Jim Gragg, retired clergyman.

Stacey Ninness, NSO president/CEO, said it is exciting to be constructing a new building that she hopes will serve people in need for another 90-plus years.

NSO is a National Mission Institution project related to the General Board of Global Ministries Women's Division. Oklahoma Conference Apportionment funds also go to the agency.

NSO specializes in helping secure housing for low-income families, young homeless men, women with children, and developmentally disabled adults. The agency operates seven additional sites in the city, including two health clinics for mothers with young children.


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