Christian Center of Park City expands in size and services | ParkRecord.com

Christian Center of Park City expands in size and services

(Tanzi Propst/Park Record)

Jim and Susan Swartz formed the Christian Center of Park City 18 years ago to meet as many community needs as possible. The center has stuck to its word over the years, but the cutting of the ribbon by the founders to signify the opening of its newly renovated space marked the beginning of the center's ability to do even more.

After a two-and-a-half-year renovation, the Christian Center of Park City is up and running in its new building, which is double the size of its previous one at the same location, said Rob Harter, executive director of the Christian Center, located at 1283 Deer Valley Drive. It expanded its office space, counseling center, thrift shop and food pantry, while adding a warehouse for donations and a special events room to provide more services to more people.

Harter said the nonprofit hit capacity in its previous space a few years ago. It opened a second office in Heber City to control the growth, but maxed out again. At that point, the nonprofit started setting aside money for a remodel.

A couple years later, Harter said he is happy the nonprofit made the decision, even though the construction took months longer than originally anticipated.

One of the major updates Harter is eager to see in action is the additional space for counselors. In the previous center, Harter said only two offices were used for counseling. Now, the center has the ability to have 20 different counselors meeting individually with people.

He said the decision to dedicate space to counseling was driven by an increased need in the community for mental wellness services, in part in reaction to the overdose deaths of two 13-year-old boys two years ago.

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"It became on everyone's radar, and because of that I think we have seen an increase in destigmatizing mental health issues," he said. "The need has grown exponentially."

The Christian Center also expanded its food pantry and designed it to look and function as a quasi-convenience store. People can grab what they need and check out rather than being given a bag of food that was chosen for them.

"I think it's more empowering for an individual to be able to select what they want," Harter said.

Next to the food pantry is a "learning kitchen," which Harter says will be used to have cooking demonstrations and classes. The kitchen and additional conference rooms will allow the center to provide more education and job training in the space, he said.

Meeting the community's needs does not just mean helping underserved individuals. Harter said the new center also has a room set aside for smaller nonprofits that want to work in a coworking space. The special events room, which includes a commercial kitchen, will be available to nonprofits and other groups.

"We are really looking for this next chapter to be one of offering more things, and as the needs of the community continue to change, that we can change to meet those needs based on our expanded space," he said.

The remodel cost $9.3 million, $2 million over the anticipated budget of $7.3 million. Harter said the Christian Center is still looking to raise the remaining $2 million. At the grand opening on Sept. 8, he announced that an anonymous individual offered to donate $1 million if the Christian Center can match with its own $1 million. Harter said that, given the support the community has provided the center so far, he does not doubt they will raise the funds soon.