EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

May 7, 2013

Opportunity Works plans new educational facility in Haverhill

HAVERHILL – Opportunity Works, a private, not-for-profit organization serving adults with disabilities and their families, announced the expansion of its services with a new 37,000-square-foot educational facility being constructed in Haverhill.

More Haverhill residents are supported by Opportunity Works than any other city or town except Amesbury. The building will include 12 specialized classrooms to offer a variety of integrated, multi-disciplinary supports and services.

A capital campaign committee is being formed and the Opportunity Works Board of Directors has selected former Haverhill Mayor John Guerin to serve as the capital campaign director. The organization has a capital campaign goal of $2 million to be raised over the next three years to finance the project. The campaign will be launched Thursday beginning at 6:00 pm at DiBurro’s Function Facility in Haverhill where building plans will be presented.

Due to the increased demand for services, Opportunity Works has grown dramatically both in the numbers of people served and in the scope of the programs provided. Today, nearly 210 people from across the Merrimack Valley and beyond take part in support programs offered by the agency.

Headquartered in Newburyport, Opportunity Works has maintained a satellite facility at 209R Summer Street in Haverhill for 14 years. The new facility will be located on land behind and abutting Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill and is slated to open in January 2014.

Jane Harris-Fale, lifelong Haverhill resident and Opportunity Works executive director, explained the pressing need for the agency to expand with a new facility.

“Our Haverhill site is at capacity, serving many people with more involved needs, which requires more space,” she said. “In 2004, our Haverhill site served 19 individuals with five staff. The site now serves 42 people with 15 staff. The expansion is projected to allow us to serve nearly 100 people with some 35 staff by 2017.”

The new site will create at least 20 new jobs over the next four years.

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