The Buckeye Ranch, a nonprofit organization founded in 1961 on Hoover Road in Grove City, will move its administrative operations and some programming to 4653 E. Main St. in Whitehall by early 2020.

“We’re so excited to come here and serve the children and families of central Ohio,” said Vickie Thompson-Sandy, CEO of Buckeye Ranch.

Founded as Buckeye Boys Ranch, the organization formally dropped Boys from its name in 1992 after it began providing programming for girls, said Nick Rees, development director for the Buckeye Ranch.

The organization “provides hope” in the form of emotional, behavioral and mental health services for children and adults up to age 21 who are referred by children-service agencies, juvenile courts and public school districts in 44 Ohio counties, Thompson-Sandy said.

The announcement of the move was made during the Whitehall Area Chamber of Commerce’s monthly social, held Sept. 30 at Heartland Bank on North Hamilton Road.

“We are delighted they chose Whitehall,” Mayor Kim Maggard said.

The presence of the Buckeye Ranch will provide Whitehall with local resources for those it serves, along with a $13.5 million payroll, Maggard said.

Most of the 270 staff members transferring to Whitehall will come from two locations: Olde Towne East, 697 E. Broad St., and the Rosemont Center in Linden, Rees said.

The 80,000-square-foot Whitehall building now owned by the Buckeye Ranch last served as a PNC Bank call center.

The organization will invest about $500,000 into modifications at the building, Rees said.

Altogether, the Buckeye Ranch has about 530 employees and seven properties, he said, including those in Cincinnati and Newark.

Whitehall will remain the seventh as the Buckeye Ranch will close the Rosemont Center, he said.

About two dozen administrators will transfer from Grove City to Whitehall, Rees said.

“Demand for our services has continued to grow and we also wanted to consolidate a lot of our staff,” Rees said about the reason for relocating to Whitehall.

From July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019, the Buckeye Ranch provided services to about 5,000 children and their families, Rees said.

The Buckeye Ranch has an annual budget of about $52 million and receives public funding from Franklin County Children Services and other county agencies that provide services to children, as well as private donations.

Some programming will be offered at the Whitehall site, but no children or adults will stay overnight, Thompson-Sandy said.

Moving its administrative functions to Whitehall will allow the Buckeye Ranch to increase the number of programs and services in Grove City.