Ballard Center to hold groundbreaking ceremony for building addition; governor to appear

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The Ballard Center will hold a groundbreaking ceremony to commence construction on an addition to its building, and Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is slated as the special guest.

The Ballard Center provides early childhood education and child care and strives to fill local families’ needs. Its staff and volunteers are now looking forward to improved spaces for community members they serve.

The 1,800-square-foot building addition is designed to house and centralize the Ballard Center’s family stabilization programs. The addition will include a new pantry space; space where volunteers and staff can sort and organize donations; and a private office space for staff in case management and crisis funding programs.

Making more room is meant to allow the long-standing Ballard Center building to solely be for education and wraparound services.

“The groundbreaking of the building addition represents an exciting new chapter of organizational growth for the Ballard Center and is direct proof that if we stick together, truly anything is possible,” according to a news release from the center.

After construction, the center’s current pantry space will be transformed into a sensory room for children receiving all types of therapy services there.

“From occupational, speech, play therapy, autism services, dental and vision screenings, etc., we will finally have a dedicated space for this incredibly important work,” according to the release.

The news release credits moving toward the next phase to support from the Lawrence community — especially the more than 50 donors to the center’s capital campaign. 

The upcoming groundbreaking is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, March 28 at the Ballard Center, 708 Elm St. in North Lawrence. It’s free to attend, and all ages are welcome.

Using shovels, Ballard Center children will perform the ceremonial groundbreaking. There will be face painting for kids, a DJ playing music, and free snacks.

Learn more about the Ballard Center on its website,

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Maya Hodison (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at mhodison (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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