Growing With The Numbers

· A stage for theatrical performances and special events

· A full-service kitchen and cafeteria-style seating and serving area

· A health-and-wellness service center staffed by volunteer doctors and dentists

· 80 new computers spread between two computer labs

· A police substation office.

“Greening” The Club

The new building is actually 3½ feet higher, as the site rests on a flood plain, so the Chasse Building Team created an elevated foundation prior to construction.

“We also utilized old and recycled concrete and asphalt material,” says Robert Dilzer, project manager for Chasse. “Overall, we were able to recycle about 75 percent of the construction waste produced at the site throughout the construction.”

The club also features an energy-efficient management system for the heating and air-conditioning, as well as controlled low-flow faucets and waterless urinals in the restrooms.

“There are motion-sensor lighting features with solar tubes throughout the hallway that allow for natural lighting while regulating the need for internal lights,” says Dilzer. “The internal lighting adjusts based on the amount of light provided by the solar tubes, and there are other energy-saving and sustainable features that make the facility eligible for pursuing the silver level of LEED certification.”

Expected Growth

In the old facilities, the club had been serving around 2,100 members; Elias expects that number to grow upwards of 30 percent. She plans to nearly double the staff to accommodate the surge in members, expanded programming and venue-rental options.

“At the old building, we could accommodate an average of 130 youth and 80 teens participating in the various programs on a daily basis,” Elias says. “Now we will have the space, staff and potential to welcome an increased average range of 200 to 250 for youth, and up to 125 teens on a weekday.”

Chasse Mentoring Program

During construction, Dilzer led the Chasse team in conducting a mentoring program for club members, and educated them about the planning and building procedures that went into the new facility. The initiative offered the youth a chance to learn about the different professional disciplines and potential future careers to consider as they develop into tomorrow’s workforce.

“Having the mentoring tours with the club members gave our building team pride in demonstrating the different skills involved on a big construction site,” Dilzer says. “We enjoyed having them as a part of the progress, and they showed great enthusiasm for the behind-the-scenes tours and learning about the infrastructure of their new club.”

The program, called “Future Builders,” also outlined how teens can apply for an apprenticeship, and provided information for local educational institutions offering degrees and certifications. Dilzer and his staff even produced a brochure to complement the tours, which encouraged boys and girls to stay in school and learn about the paths available to them upon graduation.

“There was a real sense of ownership among the boys and girls as they observed the building process and went through the mentoring tours with the Chasse staff and contractors,” says Elias. “It was a career-awareness program. Everyone had a vested interest in the process, and we never had any trouble around the site other than maneuvering around the parking lot.”

In addition to building and teaching, Chasse also had to maintain order on the crowded site and parking lots, as the club was able to remain operational throughout construction until the demolition date was set for August 10.

During demolition, the staff and club members concluded summer camps by relocating to the Chandler Community Center until the new site was completed.

Anticipation Builds

To raise funds for programs at the new club, the Chandler Compadres developed a Web site ( for a commemorative “brick-building” program, affording organizations and individuals the opportunity to contribute by purchasing a customized brick that will leave a lasting impression on the façade of the building’s entrance. Elias anticipated selling 900 bricks to community members.

Elias also saved a brick from the demolished building, noting the bittersweet memories that arose among the staff and past members. “It was a really emotional experience to see all the kids come out to watch the building go down, but the excitement of the new facility is already creating new memories.”

The future looks bright for the club with the many creative and recreation pursuits to be embraced within the new walls of the greenest, most high-tech after-school oasis in the Valley.

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