MADISON (AP) - The Freedom From Religion Foundation is demolishing a nearby apartment building as part of a plan to quadruple premises at its Wisconsin headquarters.
Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said the existing building is cramped and no longer can accommodate the staff needed to support the nonprofit organization's membership growth.
Paid membership is at nearly 20,000, an increase of 130 percent in six years, according to the State Journal.
The foundation takes on alleged violations of the separation of church and state, sometimes filing lawsuits but more often using the threat of legal action to force change. The organization also works to educate the public about non-theism.
"We're winning a lot of legal victories, and the more victories you get, the more requests for help you get," Gaylor said.
The yearlong project will break ground Monday. Workers will start by razing an apartment building behind its headquarters to make room for a four-story addition, which will include a radio and television studio.
They will also remodel the existing 1855 building and add a third story.
The foundation is in the midst of a $1.5-million fundraising campaign, which will fund much of the expansion, Gaylor said. She did not have a total cost for the project.
The foundation has 13 permanent staff positions, plus numerous interns and volunteers. It hired its first full-time staff attorney in 2007 and now has four.
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