GRACEPLACE expansionThe centerpiece of the 16,000-square-foot, $5.7 million expansion is a two-story classroom building at The Van Domelen Education Center, named for principal donors William and Julia Van Domelen.

Computer labs, a hospitality center, a nursery, a food pantry and playgrounds are also on tap for the sweeping project that Grace Place Executive Director Stephanie Munz Campbell said has been a long time in the making.

“It’s exciting to see all the work that has been done on paper finally taking place,” she said, noting that Grace Place celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier this year.

“We currently serve 800 students and families in classes, and this expansion will allow us to serve even more,” she said.

At 6,100 people for each one of its four square miles, Golden Gate’s population density dwarfs that of Immokalee (1,064 people per mile) and the rest of Florida (350 people per mile).

“But Grace Place is what’s going to make this a better community, so we’re privileged to support it with grants,” she said.

Bob Furek, chairman of Grace Place’s board of directors, said the new education center would allow Grace Place to discontinue use of the four portable classrooms it’s currently using.

“Education is the key, and it’s important that we put down this foundation,” he said. “This day is a terrific celebration.”

Still, with another $3 million needed to fund the expansion, Munz Campbell said there’s more work to be done.

“We need the money, because the need for this expansion is incredibly urgent,” she said.


Expansion for Grace Place

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