EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Hope Gospel Mission in Eau Claire is looking to expand. The Eau Claire City Council beginning the last hurdle to clear before starting construction. First News at 9’s Daniel Gomez explains the project is for a new learning center for recovering addicts.

The City Council held a public hearing on the proposed rezoning for Hope Gospel Mission’s new learning center. If approved, the non-profit could expand its property on Mercantile Drive. This plot of land just outside the Hope Gospel Mission’s facility on Mercantile Drive could be the home of their new learning center.

Brett Geboy with Hope Gospel Mission says, “It’s for those who are struggling with addiction and are in recovery. We have a program, a long-term program, a holistic program that helps them in areas such as education, in job-readiness, financial literacy and of course counseling for addiction and mental health-related issues.”

They already have a learning center on the other side of town on Western Avenue. However, Geboy says, “We are at a point where our current learning center, or counseling center, is inadequate. The board has decided to build a new learning center, a new school, for the residents.”

The new space will be bigger and better equipped to help the 40 to 50 residents of Hope Gospel Services. That project though is awaiting re-zoning approval from the Eau Claire City Council.

Once approved, Geboy says it will be time to fundraise $1.8 million for the new learning center. He explains, however, that it should pay for itself down the road. “We spent a lot of time and energy transporting our residents to and from the learning center. This will allow us, not only to have the learning center closer in proximity for our residents that can just walk to. But, also, there will be a lot of space for additional offices, private counseling, some other small group-type rooms. As well as a classroom setting for residents working on their program.”

Groundbreaking for the project is expected later this year. And should be built well into 20-24. Geboy says there is no plan yet for the old learning center when the new one gets built and is up and running.