Merrimack Hall first opened in Huntsville back in 2007 as a performance space, but fast forward 11 years, and it has become a hub for children and adults with specials needs.
Now, Merrimack has more changes planned for the future and needs a little help to bring visual and performing arts education to even more students.
Debra Jenkins is the founder of Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center, also known as "happy headquarters."
"Here everybody is just accepted, so they call it their happy place," Jenkins said.
Ten years ago the first Merrimack class had just ten students. Today they offer 33 different after-school classes, a day program for adults, and a series of summer camps-- reaching over 500 individuals with special needs. There are even more on their waiting list, but they need more space.
"We affectionately refer to this as the middle space," Jenkins said, referring to the last 2,500 square feet of undeveloped space in their building. "We didn't know what to do with this space so we just left it empty, and now we're glad we did because we know what this space needs to be."
She said it needs to have more classrooms, office space, and a pottery studio.
They have a goal of raising $80,000 to renovate the space. They have already raised $15,000, and are hoping the community will join their July fundraising efforts.
"30K in 30 days, that's what we're hoping for," Jenkins said.
$30,000 is a big goal to reach by August 7th, but she's confident the community will rise up to support the students of the happy headquarters.
"We have children who are non-verbal but they sing in our choir. Children who have mobility issues but they've taken their first steps in our dance studio," she said. "It's just very powerful."
Once they raise the money construction should take just about 90 days to complete. The space will be turned into four or five new studios, which will allow them to enroll 144 new students.