Bethesda News

Building Improvements Made Amidst Shutdown

The COVID-19 pandemic brought the world as we know it to a halt. Our ministries were not excluded from that and had to make significant changes to the way they operate. However in the midst of all of this, we have been able to make some significant improvements to our facilities.

Men’s Shelter Security Improvements

For several years, Bethesda Mission has been considering how to institute safety measures should we encounter active shooter situations. While we have taken certain steps working with our employees to better understand what to do, our facilities remained too open to someone getting in to do harm to our guests or staff.

Side porch secured area

The capital campaigns underway at our Community Center in the northern section of Allison Hill, and at our Women’s Shelter incorporate sound security measures with new or renovated facilities. Our Men’s Shelter also needed modifications to greatly prevent active shooters from gaining access. The active shooter event at Amarillo Texas Rescue Mission in February 2018 heightened concern from all rescue missions nationwide to further assess and implement security measures.

These improvements were proposed and analyzed by our Architect, Dave Maule, Maule & Associates, and by Mike Klinepeter, Pyramid Construction, our Construction Manager; these individuals have extensive experience working with several companies who have implemented active shooter facility modifications. The funding for the project was generously donated by the Martin Family Foundation. These modifications represent sound approaches that are reasonably priced to give Bethesda Mission significant controls to prevent someone from entering our Shelter and should they get into the reception/vestibule area, physical barriers and staff procedures to limit damage. Recent training for all Bethesda staff highlighted how to deal with active shooters situations.

(EXAMPLE) Reception/vestibule area

The (not yet completed) reception/vestibule area provides security screens for the front windows, bullet proof transition window and secured walls with appropriate electronic devices. The side porch provides a secured area with fencing and gate which directs all guests going outside to restrict access to one area, thereby not constantly going in and out of the main entrance. Those guests leaving or re-entering the building for scheduled appointments will do so at the main entrance.

Bethesda has been slowly replacing security cameras over the past 5 years and these improvements will finish the job.

On Monday June 25, 2018 Executive Director Scott Dunwoody attended the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new Federal Courthouse. Listening to the long history of the efforts to address the security problems with the existing Federal Courthouse in downtown Harrisburg which led to appropriating $192M for the new courthouse located across Reily Street from Bethesda’s Men’s Shelter, reinforced the need for heightening security at our facility. These improvements are consistent with what is necessary in the world we live to do our best to secure our facilities so our life giving services can continue to be offered safely to our guests.

Community Center Gym

In August 2019, we held a Grand Opening Celebration for Phase 1 of our newly improved expanded Community Center. We’ve added some finishing touches on that beautiful full-size gym: basketball hoops, scoreboards, safety padding, bleachers, sound system, and acoustical upgrades. The gym is now ready for future basketball tournaments, volleyball matches, Zumba workouts, and community dinners!

Community Center Gym

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