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28 2014

Foundation puts an old home to new use for children - Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Foundation puts an old home to new use for children - Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Posted by Seven Hills Foundation
Jul 28, 2014
Posted by Seven Hills Foundation

Seven Hills Hopedale homeHOPEDALE — Worcester's Seven Hills Foundation has purchased the historic Hopedale estate known as Oakledge and its accompanying acreage to provide a home for 12 children ages 4-16 in need of specialized care. The foundation was awarded a contract from the state for the care of these children who have various medical issues and little to no family support.

"This will be their home," said William Stock, the foundation's vice president of government and community relations. "Everything is always subject to change — individuals move out or move in — but the purpose of the facility will not change."

The approximately 14,000-square-foot building at 34 Adin St. sits on 2.54 acres between Hopedale Street and Main Street. Seven Hills Foundation purchased the property in the first week of July from Rhode Island's Coastway Community Bank for $1.2 million.

The nonprofit Seven Hills Foundation, headquartered at 81 Hope Ave., Worcester, provides health and human services for people faced with significant life challenges. The foundation has more than 3,600 employees spread throughout 160 Massachusetts and Rhode Island sites. Mr. Stock, who has worked with Seven Hills for nearly 16 years, said it is a labor of love.

"I have an older sibling that was one of the first individuals moved out of the state institutions in the 1970s into community based housing," he said. "This type of issue has always been near and dear to me because I watched my parents go though it and the anguish they had making that transition. So, the ability to work for an organization like Seven Hills Foundation, that provides such tremendous service to people in the community and is able to give individuals like that dignity in their lives and allow them to function within the community, is near and dear to my heart."

The Oakledge estate was built in 1850 as a private residence for Frank Dutcher, the president of Draper Mills, a now defunct textile company operating out of Hopedale. The building later became a convalescent home with a nursing area. Most recently, the property was again made a private residence and massive renovations were done to restore the estate. The nursing area had been completely gutted and is now ready to be restructured.

Seven Hills Foundation's purchase of Oakledge was brokered by Kelleher & Sadowsky Associates Inc. of 446 Main St. in Worcester.

"They (Seven Hills) are so focused on providing social services to the community," said Paul Matt, vice president of Kelleher & Sadowsky. "The whole process with Seven Hills is, they get a property under agreement and tackle the details quickly. They are reasonable and I wish I had 12 more customers just like them. They are an unbelievable organization."

Now that the foundation owns the property, it will begin renovating it to fit their needs. The interior will be outfitted to properly care for the children who will call the estate home; the driveway will be widened and the parking area will be expanded. Mr. Stock was careful to point out that the exterior of the building will not be seeing extensive renovations. He grew up in Hopedale and remembers walking by the building on his way home from school.

"I remember this property as a nursing home growing up," Mr. Stock said. "I knew this was the type of facility that we could utilize for this purpose."

Seeing a project like this come together, and knowing that these children will be cared for, makes all of Seven Hills' work worthwhile, he said.

"There is a sense of accomplishment and a sense of purpose," Mr. Stock said. "You see the good that the organization does and you really understand what the mission of this organization is — caring for people who are dealing with life challenges. When you see facilities like this and see the impact that our staff has on the individuals, it is extremely heart warming and it gives you a feeling of accomplishment."

Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Media Inquiries

Bill Stock
Vice President for Government and Community Relations 81 Hope Ave, Worcester, MA 01603
Phone: 508.983.1305
Fax: 508.849.3888
Email: bstock@sevenhills.org
Kathleen A. Myshrall
Vice President of Advancement 81 Hope Ave, Worcester, MA 01603
Phone: 508.983.1302
Fax: 508.849.3888
Email: kmyshrall@sevenhills.org
Jennifer Wentworth
Director of Communications 81 Hope Ave, Worcester, MA 01603
Phone: 508.983.1304
Fax: 508.849.3888
Email: jwentworth@sevenhills.org