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Home Integration program secures new home after St. Gregory's closure

Vicky O. Misa

Decades-long program Home Integration, Inc., found itself in a precarious position when St. Gregory's University closed down in the fall of 2017.

Home Integration, Inc., is a nonprofit organization that was operated on the St. Gregory’s University campus, at 1900 W. MacArthur. Home Integration worked independently of the university with its own board of directors and management team, but used the property for its program. Chairman of the board, Father Paul Zahler, O.S.B., Ph.D., started the organization in 1976 with a mission to serve children with delays in development and their families.

It appears the ministry may have landed on its feet, though, according to a rezone request approved by the city this week.

Applicant Mass Architects requested a rezone from A-1 to Planned Unit Development (PUD) on a strip of land 630 feet west of the northwest corner of East 45th Street and North Bryan Avenue.

The proposed use is for a 40-acre campus to be managed by the National Institute on Developmental Delays (NIDD) — for Zahler's program. The PUD for Home Integrations, Inc., and NIDD aims to create a site for their campus of programs.

Much of of the tract — 26 acres — will remain undeveloped in order to have the required drainage detention, as well as providing walking and riding trails throughout the area.

According to the proposal, the remaining 14 acres will be developed in two phases. Phase I will be 10 acres and will be for direct program developing, including a children’s museum, child development center, multi-purpose gymnasium, indoor pool, administration building, a family retreat center, chapel and individual cabins to serve the camp functions. The indoor pool is intended to offer community membership, and the small children’s museum will provide operating hours for public visitation. In addition to these services, Phase I will also incorporate community gardens, open air pavilions, and an outdoor amphitheater; these can be shared with the community.

Phase II will be four acres and is a secondary development area for future phases of growth or partnerships.

Duane Mass, Mass Architects president, said even after the site is completed it should not cause a considerable amount vehicular congestion; it will remain a low-traffic area, he said.

Co-owners of the property, former Gov. Brad Henry and local attorney Terry West, donated the site specifically to be used for the programs.

Henry said he has been approached by others for commercial development of the site, but he wanted it to be used for a special purpose — and one that would not disrupt the current feel of the area.

Watch for updates.