A ground-breaking ceremony was held Tuesday morning for a new Child Safe Advocacy Center to be located on West Main Street in Sedalia.

Child Safe of Central Missouri, Inc. is partnering with KPIII, which is the general contractor for the project. Completion on the one-story building is expected sometime in early 2021. Rollings is the architect on the project.

Child Safe serves a total of 13 counties (11 counties, with memorandums of understanding with two others, according to Executive Director Mari Asbury).

Child Safe was formed in 1999, according to James Cunningham, Child Safe Board of Directors president. The current facility is located at 10th and Ohio.

“We've obviously outgrown that,” Cunningham said after the ceremony. “So for the betterment of our children and our community, we're proud to be starting a new facility here that will take us many years into the future.”

The project is under the control of KPIII, which involves Ken Weymuth and the Krueger family, Cunningham explained, adding that it has been a couple of years in the making. KPIII is the general contractor on the construction project and owns the land.

“It will be a two-tenant building. We'll be on the back side and there'll be somebody on the front side that's not yet named. It gives us so many more opportunities. All of our therapy and interviews can be on site. Law enforcement will have a separate entrance to prevent any more traumatization of kids, so it's just going to be a great facility,” said Cunningham, who is starting his third year as president of the board.
Asbury was grateful for the turnout Tuesday.

“I just have to say thank you to our community and for the support, and to Ken Weymuth, and Josh and Kevin Kroeger for all they've done,” she said. “This is huge for us.”

Asbury noted that federal dollars became available through a grant, which made an expansion and upgrade possible.

“I think for the past 10 years, they've needed to upgrade,” she said, crediting former executive director Carolyn Green with guiding the organization through difficult financial times over the years.

Presently, Child Safe is occupying an 1,100-square foot, two-story building at 10th and Ohio. The new facility will house 13 staff (up from six seven over the last five years) and cover 4,000 square feet.

One other upgrade is going from one interview room to two, which is exciting for Asbury. “We can run two interviews going at one time, or two families at one time. And that's huge,” she said.

Child Safe serves between 400 and 500 kids per year, Asbury noted. “So you multiply that by 21 years, and you see how many kids we've served over the years.”