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United Disabilities Services to Break Ground on New Addition

Expands Pathways to Independence for People with Disabilities


(Lancaster, PA)  United Disabilities Services (UDS) will hold a ground breaking ceremony for the expansion of the current office space at 1901 Olde Homestead Lane on Thursday, August 23, 2007.  The ceremony will take place at 8:30 a.m. and will feature former UDS Board President Edward Hoover as master of ceremonies, and State Representative Scott Boyd as the keynote speaker. 

 The fully accessible addition, built by High Construction, will connect directly to the existing UDS office space, and should be ready for occupancy by December of this year.  This will allow other departments of UDS to consolidate operations in the original 6,300 square foot office space. However, besides the obvious need for more office space, the addition is part of a much larger plan to advance the mission of UDS.

For thirty-seven years, UDS has provided services to advance the independence of people with disabilities.  In that time, UDS has provided services to thousands of individuals with disabilities residing in Lancaster and thirty other counties of Pennsylvania.    UDS has grown from a tiny agency with a staff of six and a budget of less than $100,000 to a major human services provider with several hundred employees and a current operating budget of over $17 million.  UDS has doubled in size approximately every five years.  In order to sustain this type of growth while assuring financial competitiveness, customer service, and organizational administrative capacity, major changes needed to be made.

With an ever increasing need in our community among those who are born with a disability or who acquire a disability through accidents, illness, or aging, UDS CEO Gerald Meck and the Board of Directors embarked upon a major strategic plan for the organization which would allow UDS to expand services while remaining true to the corporate strategy of expanding Pathways to Independence for every UDS consumer.  This expansion of services would encompass a wider geographic area, increase the number of people with disabilities served, and the add programs to serve individuals over sixty.   There are three interrelated components to the plan:  a redesign of the UDS corporate structure, changes in job responsibilities for some of the senior management including the formation of a management company, and the most visible component - the new expanded office space. 

            “The agency’s network of programs makes a difference in the lives of individuals each and every day, making it possible for individuals to live with dignity in the community,” stated Mr. Meck in regard to the addition of both office space and more staff members.  “The expanded office will provide the space needed for the growing staff required to provide quality services to our clients.”

When completed, the 6,800 square foot addition will house two of the new entities being created by the corporate restructuring – the UDS Foundation and the UDS Management Services Company.   The UDS Foundation will be responsible for fundraising, serve as the parent company of all the new UDS entities, and manage investments.  The UDS Management Services Company will provide overall administrative management for all of UDS, such as human resources, payroll, financial services, marketing and strategic planning.   

      In addition, the expansion will include a state of the art training and conference room that will hold up to sixty people.  This facility will have the ability to video conference with the two other UDS offices in Williamsport and Reading.  It will also add space for the many staff training sessions that are held each month.  At this point, these training sessions are held in the UDS Board Room, which is too small for the amount of staff members involved.  Many meetings have had to be moved to nearby hotels due to lack of space; this room will alleviate that problem. 

            High Construction has taken great care in designing the addition so that it matches the original UDS office building.   One striking feature of the original UDS building that will be matched is the river rock which accents the building.  The fully accessible addition will connect to the existing facility via two interior doors as well as accessed from a new parking area and main entry on the north side of the site.  The construction plan calls for the outside of the structure to be completed by October, with the interior completed and ready for occupancy by December.   An open house will be announced to celebrate the completion of the addition. 

            UDS is a human services agency dedicated to advancing the independence of people with disabilities.  UDS is a Pennsylvania Medical Assistance Provider certified to provide in-home non-medical care.  UDS has earned the highest possible financial rating from Dunn & Bradstreet, and 93% of its revenue is spent directly on the care of consumers, who recently gave the agency a 9.1 out of a possible 10 on a consumer satisfaction survey.   UDS has also been recognized as one of the area’s most innovative non-profit agencies by the Central Penn Business Journal.   Through a network of varied programs, UDS served over 2,000 people with disabilities in 2006 alone.   For more information about UDS and its programs, please visit the website www.udservices.org or call the corporate offices at (717)397-1841 or (800) 995-9581.