Opportunity Enterprises dedicates Lake Eliza facility
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent November 1, 2013 2:42PM
David Stupay, (center) chief executive officer of Opportunity Enterprises, cuts the ribbon on the OE Lakeside facility on Wednesday while flanked by OE and community leaders. | Sun-Times Media
About OE Lakeside
The property is 157 acres. The original building is 13,000 square feet and the new wing is 19,000 square feet. The apartment building is a two-story, eight-unit accessible building that now houses 20 individuals. The property was purchased in 2007, the capital campaign “Build OE Lakeside” was launched in 2010, the groundbreaking for the new wing and apartment buildings took place in August 2012, residents began moving into the apartments in March 2013 and programming began moving into the new wing of the day services facility in September 2013.
For more on Opportunity Enterprises, go to www.oppent.org.
Updated: December 4, 2013 6:18AM
VALPARAISO — OE Lakeside offers everything from art programs to high-tech gadgets for its clients.
But perhaps most importantly, the newest Opportunity Enterprises facility, which has an expansive view of Lake Eliza, is a sign of continuing growth for the agency, which serves more than 1,100 people with disabilities.
On Wednesday, OE officials and community leaders came together at the property to celebrate a ribbon-cutting, eat samples of flavored popcorn and fudge from Simply Amazing Market, one of OE’s many business enterprises, and take a tour of the facility.
OE acquired the property in 2007 and, with the help of a dollar-for-dollar match from the Dean and Barbara White Foundation, raised nearly $3.9 million for the project, said David Stupay, OE’s chief executive officer.
The existing building was renovated in 2008 and, in August 2012, OE broke ground on a 19,000-square-foot expansion for day services, as well as an eight-unit apartment building. There are already waiting lists for second and third apartments, Stupay said.
“Opportunity Enterprises is growing, and our Lakeside campus is proof of that,” he said.
Mayor Jon Costas called Lakeside “a fabulous facility,” and noted OE’s slogan, “We’re in the business of amazing people.”
“It really, truly fits. It’s amazing people serving amazing people in a truly amazing way,” he said. “I’m so thrilled to see the scope of Opportunity Enterprises’ expansion.”
Since the late 1960s, when OE was started, it has been one of the outstanding service providers in the state, said Rex Richards, president of the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the ribbon-cutting.
“What a testament to your clients and the people you enrich every day,” he said.
Among the more than 60 people who gathered for the ribbon-cutting was Gary Mitchell, OE’s retired longtime CEO, who now lives on a 20-acre farm in Tennessee.
He was on hand for the OE Lakeside groundbreaking, and in fact kicked off the project while he was still with the agency. Mitchell was obviously pleased to be back to see the completed facility.
“It’s not only fulfilling. I know this is just the beginning. It’s the fulfillment of the dreams of a lot of people, and the start of a dream for many others,” he said. “It makes me feel damn good.”