Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More than a building…

Posted on behalf of Global Expansion Project Manager, Eddie Welsh.

The joy of cutting the ceremonial ribbon and walking through the door of a newly constructed community center does not come without its challenges. The fresh paint serves as a visual cue of accomplishment to those who have invested their precious time and effort. The new building aroma is welcoming and gives way to the finished product. It also has a uniquely artistic way of masking the hours of planning, scheduling and coordinating orchestrated by dozens of laborers, masons and contractors.

The pure delight in the eyes of the children and families entering a community center for the first time is what motivates us to construct a quality building, one that is functional for facilitating the distribution of services provided by Children International and our sponsors.

I remember walking the bare piece of land some 10 months ago that is now home to The Nina Rae Wesson Community Center. I recall thinking construction would be tight. The small terrain, closely surrounded by a heavily trafficked park and a few moderately used neighborhood thoroughfares, was not the ideal construction site.

We began the process of selecting a contractor more than a year ago. After working through some minor design changes we adjusted our model to fit the land and requirements of our programs.

Similar to projects here in the U.S, communication and coordination on a project of this magnitude are essential. We are fortunate to have a solid staff in Jalisco, complemented by a knowledgeable construction supervisor.

As anticipated, the early challenges we experienced were with the steeply sloped and rocky terrain. The solid rock provides an excellent support for the building but required hours of jackhammering to accurately manicure the openings for the foundation.

As the building grew out of the ground and the structure began to take shape, our team continued to finalize touches that would best serve the community. It was a true collaboration between the contractor and Children International. The exterior façade was selected based on durability and local architecture. Interior finishes were chosen considering ease of maintenance and functionality. It seemed logical to have tile throughout as opposed to carpet and drop ceilings as opposed to open trusses to maintain a cool environment.

Not without its challenges, the Nina Rae Wesson center was constructed under the watchful eye of experienced professionals. It is one that the sponsors, donors, CI and most definitely the community can be proud of for many years to come. And this Friday, the 31st, there will be a fantastic celebration for the children and families living in the community of Villa de Guadalupe.


Anonymous said...

Another CI Community Center opening is so exciting! I look forward to seeing more pictures and reading the dialogue about Friday's opening day.

Here in Kansas City, the Friends of Children International group is working on fundraising for a community center scheduled for Kenya, Africa sometime in 2008. These centers give such hope to the children and families in their communities.

Seeing the opening of this new center in Mexico is an inspiration to all of us working on the Kenya project.

Thanks for sharing this story.

evergreen3 said...

As much as the buildings are important to providing a good foundation for sponsored children, the people who work for Children International whether in the field offices or in Kansas City are exceptional. Everyone I have encountered has been compassionate and motivated to do more, not just for the sponsored children, but for the sponsors as well.

I want to thank the blog moderators for the extra efforts they make when visiting a country, in what are difficult situations, to describe in great detail the problems of sponsored children, as well as the solutions such as this Community Center brings to the community. It helps those of us who cannot travel to these countries have a better understanding of the global picture.

They may have taken the road less traveled, but we are all the richer for it.