The new full-service campus is the advocacy center’s first McKinney location. The organization has served over 75,000 children and families since the center opened in Plano in 1992, providing “life-changing services” for children and families who have been victimized by child abuse, according to its website. The centers offer family advocacy services, forensic interviews and counseling completely free to clients, McLean said.
“The idea ... is that children and families can come in one door and get everything they need,” McLean said.
The organization’s new 40,000-square-foot facility, located at 1701 Heritage Drive, McKinney, will house 65 children’s advocacy professionals, including family advocates and forensic interviewers. The center will also have representatives from the Collin County Sheriff’s Office; Texas Department of Family and Protective Services; and McKinney, Frisco, Anna and Princeton police departments, according to a news release.
When discussions began to look into expanding the center from its Los Rios Plano location in 2015, McLean used data from the state demographer and from school districts in Collin County to learn more about what the predicted child population growth would be. At that time, the child population in Collin County was expected to triple by 2050, growing from 260,000 children to 750,000 children, McLean said. Using data from Child Protective Services, McLean determined 2% of that growth would likely need services from the center and that the center would outgrow its campus in Plano by 2023.
“We were getting increasingly concerned about our ability to [serve every child and family that needs services] given what we were reading in the media and hearing about the growth of Collin County,” McLean said.
A capital campaign was established in 2018 and aimed to raise $10 million for the project. Despite a break in fundraising efforts at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was fully funded by private donors by December 2020. The campus is named after Mark and Carolyn Speese, longtime donors and contributors to the center who made the lead gift of the capital campaign, McLean said.
“We can depend on them to always want to step up and make a difference, and they do,” McLean said.
The 3.8-acre piece of land where the center now sits was owned by Independent Financial for a potential expansion project, McLean said. Independent Financial CEO David Brooks sold the land to the advocacy center for $400,000, which is $1 million lower than what the land is valued at and something McLean called a “miracle.”
McLean noted that KDC Development selected the project as its sole annual pro bono project, and the firm acted as project management for the duration of the construction completely free. The McKinney Community Development Corp. also provided the center with a $250,000 grant at its August 2021 meeting to supplement rising materials costs, McLean said.
The facility was built for growth and is able to house up to 116 employees. The center is expected to meet the center’s needs for the next 15-25 years, McLean said.
“We need this building to make sure no child is ever turned away, to make sure that every child has access to services wherever they live in our county and to make sure that every child has access to the full range of services they need to heal.”
More information about the new McKinney campus is available at www.caccollincounty.org or by calling 972-633-6700.