Human Services on Track for New $6.55 Million Building

DERBY – Northeast Kingdom Human Services (NEKHS) is moving forward on its plan to construct a facility in Derby's commercial district on the Crawford Road.Currently, NEKHS has three locations in the Newport area: one on Dutchess Street in Newport, one on the Lake Road, and the other on Citizens Road in Derby. These locations will be combined into one location in Derby.Plans are to construct a 30,200-square foot facility with approximately 132 parking places on five acres. A new water and sewer line will be installed along with a fire hydrant.NEKHS, a non-profit organization, has historically received property tax exempt status but made payments in lieu of taxes to Newport. Whether or not NEKHS will receive tax exempt status in Derby has yet to be determined, said Derby Lister Tom Cyr.VEDA has approved $3.9 million in tax-exempt bonds to help finance the $6.55-million project.All local permits are in place and the project has an Act 250 permit and storm water approval.The new facility will allow for all the services to be located under one roof, will provide greater efficiency, and will save time and resources, Executive Director Eric Grimes has said. It will be similar in design as the St. Johnsbury Human Services offices.Grimes could not be reached Friday or Monday for further information.The new building will be home to about 200 employees and serve on average 1,800 to 2,000 children and adult clients. Services include substance abuse counseling and services for chronic mental illness, developmental disabilities, and other mental health and medical psychiatric needs.NKHS has 350 full-time employees.