Empty space becomes a ‘home’ at Transylvania

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Transylvania University and a Lexington agency are teaming up to meet a special need during the coronavirus outbreak.

With spring sports canceled and students taking courses remotely, the empty gyms and locker rooms at Transylvania University’s Clive M. Beck Center will soon become temporary shelter for clients of Lexington’s Hope Center.

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Beginning Tuesday through April 30, the Beck Center’s practice gym will serve as a shelter for 40-50 individuals who regularly stay at the Hope Center. The additional space will allow Hope Center staff to meet social distancing recommendations from local, state and federal health officials.

“We are so grateful for this generous offer from Transylvania, which has a long history of supporting the Hope Center,” said Janice James, the nonprofit’s interim executive director. “This additional space will help us fulfill our top priority — the health and safety of our clients, staff and community during this unprecedented challenge.”

“In this time when so many in our community find themselves in need, it’s important for us to respond” said Transylvania Interim President John Williams. “Our students, staff and faculty have built a long-standing relationship with the Hope Center, regularly volunteering at their facility. Now is the time for us to offer this campus facility to help them continue to serve their community.”



“This generous gesture truly speaks to the heart and soul of the Transylvania community spirit,” said Cathy Jacobs, chair of the Hope Center board. “We, the Hope Center Board of Directors, thank the Transylvania board and staff for extending a hand and helping our clients during this trying time.”

All individuals sheltering at the Beck Center will undergo a basic health screening and temperature monitoring daily. The Hope Center will provide bedding, towels and toiletries for clients. Transylvania is providing access to its showers and commercial laundry facilities, and Bon Appétit Management Company, the university’s food service provider, will provide meal service.

“We are proud and eager to help the community in any way that we can,” said Chris Harris, Bon Appétit’s general manager at Transylvania.

The Hope Center serves over 650 each night. During this COVID-19 outbreak, Hope Center staff has been separating programs and clients as much as possible. In addition to space in the Beck Center, the Hope Center will have access to the outdoor seating area in Alumni Plaza. Staff from the Hope Center will be on campus 24/7 for the duration of their stay.