I.F. Nonprofit Group Out of Room

By Kortny Rolston
Post Register
Printed on Monday, September 8, 2008

Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership hopes to sell its downtown building so it can move all of its services under one roof.

Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership's downtown Idaho Falls building is up for sale, but that doesn't mean the regional nonprofit is closing its doors.

The organization wants to sell its 357 Constitution Way building; give up the spaces it leases for a food warehouse, Head Start classrooms and a weatherization program; and move all its services under one roof.

"It will be a lot cheaper for us," EICAP Executive Director Russ Spain said. "We won't be paying leases and electricity for all these buildings. That extra money can go into client services."

EICAP has occupied the brick building -- which houses its administrative offices, the Area Agency on Aging, its energy assistance and other programs -- since the 1970s. Over the years, it began leasing space as it added services.

That worked for several years, Spain said, but the organization has outgrown its space and having programs scattered through town isn't convenient for clients or staff.

For example, its Head Start administrative offices are located at Constitution Way, but one of its main classroom centers is on Lomax Street. Neither space can hold both classrooms and the administrative offices.

"We've run out of room," Spain said. "We don't have enough office space downtown. Beyond that, there's no parking. We don't even have enough parking for our staff."

He also believes having a single-story space that houses all of its services -- which include help for grandparents raising grandchildren, energy and rental assistance, Head Start preschool, food distribution and home weatherization -- will allow EICAP to better serve clients.

"If someone brought their children to Head Start, we could also get them signed for energy assistance if they needed that or one of the other programs and they wouldn't have to go anywhere else," Spain said.

Karen Cornwell, executive director of the local United Way agency, agrees. Her organization has worked with EICAP for several years and knows how limited its space is.

"It would be nice for their clients to be able to go to one place and get all the services they need," she said.

EICAP has not yet purchased a new space. It found one and made an offer, but it was contingent on it selling its downtown building, which is listed at $1.1 million, within a certain time, and that didn't happen.

That's one reason why Spain has backed off setting a specific timeline.

All their plans are contingent on selling the building, which has been on the market for four to five months.

Spain said they will use money from the sale to buy something new and retrofit it to their needs.

"Even then we'll have a mortgage, but we still think this will be cheaper than having all these buildings," he said.

Want to know more?

For more information about Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership, go to www.eicap.org or call 522-5391.