On 140 acres of pastoral Williamson County land, including a gorgeous hillside overlooking two lakes, 120 individuals who have intellectual and developmental challenges will have the opportunity to live and grow. BrightStone will offer them a chance to learn essential life skills, develop productive work habits, and gain beneficial job skills. They will be able to explore job opportunities both on the campus and in the community that will use their strengths and engage their interests. Moreover, these students will be able to live in their own home with assistance as needed, while also participating in social activities in their community, their Land of Dreams.
The goal of BrightStone’s Land of Dreams will be to help answer the heart cry of so many families – “Who will take care of our loved one when we no longer are able?”
Three Phases for Land of Dreams
For over 21 years, BrightStone has offered a variety of classes, therapies, and social community interaction in a viable and well-respected day program. Now, this Land of Dreams offers a major expansion, one that builds on the success of their student-led enterprise! It is being designed around a learning curriculum where students will receive vocational training and on-the-job experiences in their community. Ultimately, the goal is to successfully match each student to work that gives them a meaningful life.
“With a campus-like setting,” said Brenda Hauk, Executive Director, “we can offer students the option of a variety of living environments from skilled nursing to overnight care with live-in housemates to independent living. This important continuum of care will fulfill the lifetime needs of an individual experiencing significant challenges.”
This bold, audacious venture recently began with Phase I as rocks were blasted and dirt moved. The first phase of the Master Campus Plan will include a 23,000 square-foot Center for Learning, Art, and Enterprise for job training, as well as two homes for eight students, is underway.
Phase II incorporates the construction of additional homes; the Horticulture Center with greenhouses where students will be learning to grow a variety of plants; an Enterprise Retail Store which will give students the opportunity to work and sell their products, including ceramics and cookie, fudge, and savory dip mixes; and an administration building with a health clinic.
Phase III will offer not only additional student homes, but also an Equine Therapy Arena and Stables for therapeutic riding, an aquatic center and gym, and a chapel.
Six Teams Helping Create the Plan
“We are building more than a campus,” said Hauk, “we are building a life for individuals with challenges beyond measure. Under the leadership of Bob Speck, a BrightStone Board member and business strategist, we have established six “Future Planning Teams”. Each one will provide strategies and tasks to meet the associated team objectives.”
Team leaders were selected from their Board of Directors, staff, and the local community to offer their specific expertise to make wise decisions which will allow BrightStone’s Land of Dreams to flourish. Each team is made up of three to four members who will help provide a future plan for the objective they are sponsoring.
The six objectives are:
- Objective one is to develop a staff and Board leadership transition strategy.
- Objective two is to develop a construction, operating, and capital funding plan for Phase I of the Land of Dreams campus.
- Objective three is to establish a development, funding, and marketing plan with capacity to mainstream and sustain general operations and launch a Legacy Giving program.
- Objective four is to develop an Enterprise Program to build on the strengths, skills, and interests of BrightStone students, which produces an increasing sustainable source of revenue.
- Objective five is to determine risks and develop strategies to accomplish removal of those risks. And last of all, objective six is to develop a residential plan, including protocol and staffing profile to accommodate eight students living in two homes, meeting all licensure requirements to present a quality and safe residential program for students.
What is the Timeline for the Entire Project
Phase I will be completed by Summer 2022. At that time, the organization will move from their current facility at 140 SE Parkway Court to the new Center for Learning, Art, and Enterprise. Eight students will move into the two new homes.
“The Master Plan for the entire Land of Dreams project has been approved by the Williamson County Planning Commission,” explained Houk. “Therefore, Phases II and III can occur as structures are designed and funding becomes available. This will be determined by the caring community who continues to join with us to ensure that BrightStone students experience full and purposeful living. The Land of Dreams campus will be community-focused, which is why we are already making plans for the next two phases!”