Bursting at its seams, with waiting lists in excess of 400, EOC’s Fresno Local Conservation Corps took a major risk – constructing a community campus, the Neighborhood Youth Center (NYC). What drove the project was the desire to make a one-stop beacon of hope in an area the Brookings Institution ranked among the highest concentrated poverty in the nation – and to have it designed and planned by Corpsmembers.
Corpsmembers surveyed 1,000 local residents to determine which services were needed, ranking them by importance. From the survey the Corps engaged architects to design a campus with an NBA-sized gymnasium, weight room, and community meeting facility; a child care facility with capacity for 80 Corpsmember children; a vocational training facility to teach solar installation, welding, recycling, and construction applications; and a headquarters facility complete with a 40-station computer lab, space for seven classrooms, and the Corps’ administrative offices. The services co-located at the NYC include counseling delivered by masters-level supervised interns from Fresno State University, WIC, WIA One Stop Training, the YouthBuild Charter School of California, Fresno City College, a Career Center, AFLN, and EOC health screening services.
Staff moved into the 60,000 square foot, $16 million complex in September 2009.