On April 27, 1973, by special legislation by the State General Assembly, Calhoun County Disabilities and Special Needs Board was one of the first to be created in the state. Due to the tireless efforts of a caring group of Calhoun County citizens, the Calhoun County Child Development Center opened its doors in the old Cameron Elementary School on August 27, 1973, serving sixteen children between three and twelve years of age. Senator L. Marion Gressette was noted as being a key leader in bringing the center into reality by helping to obtain a special grant.
On October 5, 1975, the agency’s name was changed to the L. Marion Gressette Center in recognition of Senator L. Marion Gressette and his timeless effort in support of people with developmental disabilities. In July 1975, the L. Marion Gressette Center expanded services to include services for individuals ages sixteen and above. Services for these adults focused on work activity, prevocational, and vocational skills as well as teaching and enhancing self-help and social skills.
In the 1980's, L. Marion Gressette Center was instrumental in developing community based residential options in Calhoun County. In 1984, they submitted a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Application for two (2) eight bed homes classified as Intermediate Care Facilities. Calhoun County Housing, Inc. was formed as a separate private, non-profit corporation with the sole purpose of providing residential services for persons with intellectual disabilities. Calhoun County Housing, Inc. then received HUD funding to construct these homes. In the mid1980's, other residential options to include Community Training Homes I (CTH I) and Supported Living Programs (SLP) were developed due to dedication and hard work.
In 1990, the board continued to expand residential options in Calhoun County and developed Community Training Homes II (CTH II). The model was designed for three or four people with disabilities to live together with twenty-four hour supervision. Today, the board operates six CTH II homes in the county.
Since the 1980's, there has been a transition from the developmental model to one of work. In addition, family support services are provided by the board based on the individual’s need. Some of these services include Case Management, Early Intervention, Respite, and Family Supports.
In January 1990, it was terribly apparent that the program had outgrown its existing Administrative and Day Program facility and after much deliberation decided to purchase a vacant industrial building in the county.
Due to our strong guidance, vision and leadership, much has been accomplished over the years. In 2005, the Agency and Day Program moved into a new facility and 2 three bed CTH II homes were converted to four bed homes. In 2011, the Agency obtained 2 additional ICF/IID Homes in Gilbert, SC. The agency has also developed a foundation (L. Marion Gressette Center Foundation, LLC) and looks forward to many other projects for the future. The Board continues to work on an aggressive agenda to enhance services and options for people we serve.