The Fairbanks

Theresa Bettmann KSMU

This week, host Linda Regan speaks with Amy Blansit, faculty at Missouri State University and Chair of the Drew Lewis Foundation at the Fairbanks.

Today’s discussion explores adaptations during this year of COVID changes, while continuing to be a vital resource for community. Blansit talks about ongoing need for support, and how community can still be involved in programing and resources.    

(Photo: Randy Stewart)

Among the dozens of local offices and organizations who have partnered with the City of Springfield’s Zone Blitz Initiative are arts organizations—the Springfield Art Museum; Springfield Ballet; and the Springfield Regional Arts Council. 

Michele Skalicky

Daisy Tolliver can finally look forward to the rest of her life.  The 73-year-old northwest Springfield resident has struggled for years trying to make her income last through the month while raising two great-granddaughters.  She adopted seven-year-old Aerith as a three-week-old infant.  She took Jaliyah, six, home from the hospital just after the baby was born.

Jobs for Life Seeks Champions to Assist Others

Oct 11, 2016
Life360 Church / KSMU

A program aimed at helping people who are struggling to achieve success in their lives is well underway.

The Life360 Fairbanks program, Jobs for Life, has reached the half way point of its first round, and there is still a need for “champions” interested in assisting current and future students.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

A five-year, $1.3 million grant aims to help Springfield families struggling to emerge from poverty and allow them to achieve long-term success.

The funding for the Northwest Project is the largest single grant awarded by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. It will benefit a partnership made up of Missouri State University, the Drew Lewis Foundation and Drury University.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

A former school gymnasium in north Springfield, once in danger of being torn down due to its blighted state, is now a point of pride for the Drew Lewis Foundation and owner Amy Blansit.

Dubbed the “cafa-gym-a-torium” by past inhabitants, this refurbished Fairbanks Elementary School gym is part of the second phase in the quest to turn this former education facility into a community resource center.

Blansit, Foundation board members and roughly 100 citizens joined to view a ribbon cutting Wednesday to highlight the construction progress.

The Fairbanks

On this edition of Making Democracy Work Lois Zerrer interviews Amy Blansit on progress at the Fairbanks, a historic school building that is being repurposed as a community development center in the Grant Beach Neighborhood.

The services provided and programs available at the Fairbanks are discussed, as well as relationships the Fairbanks shares with local schools and Universities. The history and restoration of the Fairbanks are also described, including future plans.

Theresa Bettmann / KSMU

Neighbors from the surrounding Grant Beach neighborhood begin congregating inside the warm and festively decorated annex of the Fairbanks for a weekly community dinner.  What was once an elementary school, closed in 2007, continues to be restored in phases to a neighborhood hub.  Its mission is to connect families with needed services through the efforts of the Drew Lewis Foundation and its many partners. 

“We always come around to share food first—so it always begins with a dinner,” Blansit says.

The Fairbanks: Road to Restoration Enters Second Phase

Jun 25, 2015
Theresa Bettmann KSMU

Progress continues on renovations to the former Fairbanks elementary school in Springfield’s Grant Beach Neighborhood.

“We are beginning phase two which includes the auditorium, the teaching kitchen, and the two classrooms,” said Christina Wiksell, director of Community Outreach for the Drew Lewis Foundation.

Theresa Bettmann / KSMU

Fueled by similar projects in cities like Detroit and Chicago, a Springfield organization is striving to create a central neighborhood resource out of an abandoned school building. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann tells us how it impacts the neighborhood and what’s in store for Saturday’s awareness event.