Proud to share our latest project!

Options & Advocacy expanded offices Options & Advocacy entry and conference room Options & Advocacy conference area

A few weeks ago, we put the final touches on a build-out of a new 1,700 square foot commercial space for Options & Advocacy for McHenry County. We have been honored to be a part of this exciting expansion project for an important service agency in our community.

Options & Advocacy is dedicated to empowering individuals with developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders through advocacy and the coordination of service options. The agency works with developmentally disabled and autistic children and adults and their families. Its mission is to educate clients and help them take advantage of all the services available to them in McHenry County to better their lives.

Funding for Options & Advocacy’s services is provided by the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois State Board of Education and the McHenry County Mental Health Board, along with individual and corporate donations. Due to a generous donation from the Foglia Family Foundation, and an ongoing capital campaign for matching funds, the agency was able to purchase space adjacent to its existing offices to add to its facilities, which will better serve its clients.

Options & Advocacy’s executive director, Cindy Sullivan, and business office manager, Fay Wilson are managing the build-out of the space with Scholl Construction project manager, Chris Huber. The new space includes five new offices, a sensory room, a sorely needed storage room, a small kitchenette and a large, multi-purpose open space. However, with all this new space, the most exciting elements of the project for Sullivan are the rework of the agency’s front entrance and the new ADA-Compliant bathroom.

Office build out - enlarged entrance

“With this project we have been able to update and enlarge the front entrance to make it more functional than ever before,” said Sullivan. “It’s my favorite part of the construction because it makes us truly accessible to anyone with mobility issues and for families with wheelchairs and strollers.”

As for the new bathroom, Sullivan explained that it was often a struggle for individuals with mobility issues and families with young children to access the existing bathroom in the original space. These issues are solved with the new ADA-compliant family bathroom. “We could have a party in the new bathroom. It’s so great for our clients!” said Sullivan.

Options & Advocacy bathroom

Serving McHenry County
Three main programs encompass the services provided by Options & Advocacy. The Child and Family Connections Program offers early intervention services for families with children with developmental delays from birth to three years old. The Helping Us Grow (HUG) program encourages positive parent-child interactions by providing pregnant women and young families with in-home education about child development and family wellness. The Autism Resource Center provides monthly screenings along with a range of services to adults and families that have a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or who suspect their child may have an ASD.

The staff of the Autism Resource Center will be occupying the new offices. Options & Advocacy’s autism program has grown from one full-time employee when the program began in 2011 to eight full-time employees today. The space they currently occupy in the agency’s original building will be reallocated to ease crowding, including allowing Sullivan to return to the executive director’s office that currently holds four staff members. “I’ll be able to actually meet with clients and staff privately without having to move something off a chair to allow them to sit down,” said Sullivan.

Clients visiting the Autism Resource Center will now also have access to the new sensory room when a quiet, relaxing place is needed. It will have a swing, beanbag chair and other self-soothing features that are so valuable to autistic individuals.

Options & Advocacy sensory room

The new, open multi-purpose space will allow Options & Advocacy is to host playgroups, monthly Sibshops for siblings of children with special needs, parent workshops and seminars and other events that in the past have been held elsewhere. “We have used libraries, churches and other spaces for our programs. But a lot of planning is required when we go out in groups. It’s always been sort of a struggle to make sure the environment will be appropriate for the children we serve, and their privacy will be respected,” said Wilson. “Now we can gather in this great new space with everything we need.”

A win-win project
We cannot say enough about the value Options & Advocacy brings to our community, and we are thrilled that the agency is happy with the service our project manager, Chris Huber, has provided. “We know we are a small project for Scholl, but we have never once felt that way,” said Wilson. “Chris is here checking in every day, informing us of the schedule, telling us who will be onsite working each day and inspecting the work. He has gone above and beyond our original plans to suggest materials we could use to save money without sacrificing quality or elements we need. He and Scholl Construction really get what we need. They keep their eye on the bottom line and have kept the project on schedule all the way.”

A big THANK YOU to Options and Advocacy for allowing Scholl Construction to be a part of this project.