July 19, 2010

Check out our expansion!

If you’ve passed by our Northwest Center in the past couple of months, you’ve probably noticed that construction of our new expansion is well underway. I was lucky enough to get a tour of the construction site last week, and the spaces I saw got me very excited for this fall, when the building will be finished!

The new entryway to our building will be spacious and inviting, with a staircase and elevator and open hallways. A wide reception area will feature plenty of seating for visitors. (One could generously describe our current layout as ‘cozy,’ with seating space only along a narrow hallway in between offices and intake rooms; this new layout will be a great enhancement.)

Two views of the entryway to our upcoming new building, facing out to and in from 7th street.

And oh, how these services will be enhanced! Most of all, our Medical Clinic is in for a major upgrade: not only will we have more exam rooms, a larger dispensary and a new lab, but in time, our new facility will even accommodate a dental suite. In sum, the new medical clinic in will ultimately allow us to triple our capacity to provide free health care to our community.

Our Social Services department and Legal Clinic will expand into the space previously occupied by the Medical Clinic, providing them with more private meeting space for client visits.

Once the wall between our new and old buildings gets blasted through, our food pantry will be re-organized to accommodate Client Choice, the successful new way of distributing food that we’ve been practicing in our Southeast Center since March.

The builders plan to complete this new doorway

Another exciting feature of the expansion will actually be found on top of the building. With the help of DC Greenworks, we’ll build a 3500 square foot green roof. Not only will this reduce storm water runoff, reduce our heating and cooling costs, and reduce our input to the urban heat island effect, but it will also eventually host a garden in which we can grow our own herbs and vegetables. Ultimately we hope to involve client volunteers in the growing and harvesting of this produce, for their own consumption and to be shared with the pantry. Check back for more details on this project soon.

Soon, this roof will be covered in green!

Other features of our new expansion include a much larger conference room, more bathrooms, and office space for our Administrative and Development staff! [Ed: woo!]

We love our current building, and are pleased to say that it will remain in good use, and in its current (historically-designated) state. But the new expansion will allow us to provide services to our clients on a broader scale, more efficiently, and in a space that fosters a collaborative atmosphere of dignity and respect. We invite our clients, neighbors, donors and volunteers to join us in envisioning the community center that we can become.

This mural, which used to appear on the outside facade of our building, will now adorn the hallway in the expansion.

In fact, we need all of you to make it happen. The actual construction of the building has been made possible by the DC Primary Care Association, through its Medical Homes DC capital initiative. With this support and gifts from several individuals and private foundations, we’ve secured more than 97% of the $8.3 million that the expansion will cost; but the remaining 3% (just over $120,000) is what will make the new facility operational. For that final amount, we’re turning to our generous community. Fortunately, we’ve been supported by this community for more than 35 years now!

If you, too, are excited for this expansion, please join our capital campaign by making a donation today: http://breadforthecity.org/capitalcampaign.

Be sure to check back soon for more posts about the upcoming developments. Thanks to all who are making this expansion possible.

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