Seton Center will nearly double in size

The Seton Center, which serves some of Kansas City’s neediest families, will nearly double in size thanks to $1.5 million from U.S. Bank and other fundraising pledges.

U.S. Bank announced Thursday that it has committed $1.5 million in new markets tax credit financing to help expand the Seton Center Family and Health Services Center, 2816 E. 23rd St. The project will dramatically increase the space for the center’s pantry, thrift store, dental clinic and educational offerings.

Total project costs, including architectural fees and furniture, are expected to be about $4.7 million. Seton Center officials said the U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp.’s tax credit investment, plus other contributions to the Campaign of Hope capital campaign, put them close to reaching their fund-raising goal.

“It’s an affirmation of how important this is for the community,” said Sister Loretto Marie Colwell, executive director.

Seton Center was co-founded 43 years ago in the Washington Wheatley neighborhood by the Daughters of Charity and the Ladies of Charity of Metropolitan Kansas City. The current facility is 14,900 square feet and is bursting at the seams, Colwell said.

The expansion will add 9,000 square feet, including tripling the thrift store’s size and doubling the food pantry size. In six years, Colwell said, the population seeking out the pantry’s food and hygiene items has grown from 200 families to 850 families per month.

The dental program, which handles more than 7,000 visits per year and provides outreach to five schools, will also add another dentist and dental suite.

Seton Center in the past has offered an alternative high school on site, although it is closed this school year to accommodate construction. The expansion will provide more activity space and several more classrooms to serve up to 110 students, and Colwell said the agency has applied to operate a charter high school there this fall.

Construction is expected to be completed in June.