Walk through the doors at Turnstone and you can feel it. It’s in the happy banter in the halls and on the smiling faces of clients and staff. It is a surprising place to find joy and hope, yet its presence is unmistakable.
For 72 years, Fort Wayne’s organization dedicated to helping children and adults with disabilities has stuck to its mission: To empower people with physical disabilities to reach for their full potential in every aspect of life. Early on, Turnstone offered an alternative school option for the disabled. Today, it’s a state-of-the-art sports training facility and so much more.
Including 125,000 square feet of newly expanded facilities, Turnstone contains 190,000 square feet dedicated to therapeutic services; adult day services; sports and recreation; health and wellness; child day and after school care; case management; and equipment loan.
Three years ago, Turnstone’s chairman of the board challenged then CEO Nancy Louraine and the Turnstone team to dream about what they would do with one million dollars. “We came up with 18 million dollars in projects that would allow more accessibility, more services for people with disabilities and make us a premier location in the nation for people with disabilities,” says Cindy Geisman, Turnstone’s chief operating officer.
Through incredible donor support, foundations and grants, that dream is coming true. Phase One, which was completed in July 2010, expanded pediatric services. Treatment rooms for physical, occupational and speech therapy plus a gym were added. “The centerpiece is a treehouse with a scary/fun slide that rewards kids for climbing the residential scale steps,” says Geisman.
Phase Two and Three included a fitness center, warm water therapy pool, conference rooms, administrative offices and the field house. Because Turnstone is nationally recognized as a powerhouse in adaptive sports such as wheelchair basketball, power soccer and others, the field house was needed. “With how our sports teams have done, we had to build it sooner than later,” says Kenna Davis, communications specialist at Turnstone. So they folded both phases into one.
A very competitive selection process began. “We chose the partner we felt was most in line with meeting our needs as well as competitive pricing,” says Geisman.
Michael Kinder and Sons, which contracted with Turnstone for Phase One construction, was selected as the design-builder with Design Collaborative as its design partner. “We looked at the space and figured out how to get that additional 12,000 feet by adding a mezzanine,” says Bill Kinder, owner of Michael Kinder and Sons. That was the linchpin.
Kinder’s company broke ground on the 125,000-square-foot addition in July of 2014 and laid the first beam on November 5. Using the design/build concept, it started developing the site before the plans were completed, saving time. In spite of a bitter winter, Kinder is on target to finish on time, July 31st, 2015.
Turnstone’s new facility is an athlete’s paradise. The Plassman Athletic Center, named after The Plassman Family, houses a 230-meter track of rubberized surface surrounding four wood collegiate-sized basketball courts for wheelchair basketball and power soccer. The interior track includes long jump, pole vault and high jump facilities. The building also includes conference rooms, administrative offices, locker rooms, concessions, a new main entry, an elite fitness area and viewing areas on the mezzanine. New CEO Mike Mushett, a former director with the US Paralympics, brings his expertise to oversee the new Turnstone.
With Turnstone teams scoring wins in national competitions and its strong foundation of full spectrum disability services, Turnstone has put Fort Wayne on the map for Paralympic sports and disability resourcing.
“Some people describe this as the happiest place on earth for people with disabilities,” says Geisman. “Every employee believes it could be any one of us or a family member needing our services. We never lose sight of the vision.”
For David Michael, vice president of operations for Michael Kinder and Sons, it became personal when his employer’s family member had a stroke. “It’s our passion to be a part of Turnstone,” says Michael.
“We’ve come so far in our thinking about people with disabilities and their abilities,” says Geisman. With vision and donor generosity, the new Turnstone continues to expand opportunities for adults and children with disabilities. And that is where the hope and joy enters in.
Please join Turnstone for its open house on September 12th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Address: 3320 N. Clinton Street Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805
Phone: (260) 483-2100
Years in Business: 72
Number of Employees: 75
Products & Services: Turnstone provides therapeutic, educational, wellness, sport and recreational programs to empower people with disabilities.