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  Spring Branch Family Development Center, Page 46Spring Branch Family Development Center
6909 Portwest Drive, Houston, TX 77024

Houston, Texas
Total Square Feet: 52,116
Construction Period: June 2000 to Mar 2001

Construction Team
General Contractor: David E. Harvey Builders, Inc. - 3630 Westchase, Houston, TX 77042
Structural Engineer: Haynes Whaley Associates, Inc. - 2000 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. South, #1800, Houston, TX 77042
Electrical & Mechanical Engineer: DBR Engineering Consultants, Inc. - 9990 Richmond Avenue, South Bldg., #300, Houston, TX 77042
Landscape Architect: Kudela & Weinheimer - 7155 Old Katy Road, #270, Houston, TX 77024

Opened in May of 2001, the 42,000-square-foot Spring Branch Family Development Center combines a Boys & Girls Club, an Education Building, and a Clinic Building that houses health and social services, administrative offices, and a faith-based Family Services Center. Located in an economically disadvantaged area of Spring Branch, a west central residential area of Houston, Texas, the bright colors and whimsical roof forms of the new Development Center create a startling, yet pleasant departure from the apparent poverty of the area. 

As with many community centers, funding was the initial challenge, though it was solved by procuring funds from several different sources-foundations, individuals, and a religious organization. The Center was a collaborative effort between the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, Chapelwood United Methodist Church, and Spring Branch ISD to combine all necessary services and facilities on a single 9-acre campus. Bill Marshall, Business Administrator for Chapelwood, recalls the impetus for the project, "The vision for the Development Center began six or seven years ago, originally as a gymnasium and recreation center for the community. We began setting aside funds and designated a tithe of our $12 million capital building campaign, eventually donating almost two million dollars." 

The client's primary goal was simple#to provide a community center for this underserved, lower income neighborhood that was cost-effective, yet functional and attractive. Kirksey designed the three buildings that constitute the Family Development Center, which are constructed of concrete tilt-wall panels, brightly painted to reflect the cultural aesthetic prevalent in the area. Above the tilt-wall panels, clerestory windows provide abundant natural light during the day, and dramatic uplighting gives the buildings a glowing effect at night. Though each building's palette is unique, consistency is maintained as certain colors carry through from one building to the next. A covered walkway connects all three facilities, providing a single entry and drop-off area.

The largest building on the Spring Branch Family Development Center campus is the Boys & Girls Club, containing a high school regulation gymnasium, locker rooms, game rooms, a computer room, an art room, a library, a teen center, staff offices, and athletic fields for baseball, softball, and soccer. Activity rooms accommodate the Club's many programs, such as after-school tutoring and academic help. The design of the Club was based on a prototype facility that Kirksey developed for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, marking Kirksey's fifth Boys & Girls Club. 

The Education Building flanks the Boys & Girls Club to the east. Spring Branch ISD operates a Pre-K center and the Head Start program is housed there. 
Opposite the Education Building, the Social Services Building sits just west of the Club. Several organizations occupy the clinic space, including the WIC (Women Infant Children) clinic, the San Jose Clinic operated by Catholic Charities USA, and a number of other social services providers that share lease space in the building. According to Chapelwood's Bill Marshall, "the facility has already reached capacity"we may need to expand as early as next year." Kirksey designed the 42,000-square-foot complex to accommodate future expansion to 80,000 square feet.

The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. "When the buildings were finished, people were amazed," explained Marshall. "I think the reason we were able to get such a great facility on such a limited budget was because both Kirksey and David E. Harvey Builders were familiar with these types of buildings, enabling them to accurately budget and schedule the project from beginning to end."

DIV 07: Insulation: CertainTeed; Built-Up: Johns Manville. 
DIV 08: Entrances & Storefronts: Vistawall; Hardware: Von Duprin, LCN.
DIV 09: Metal Studs: Dietrich Industries; Gypsum: James Hardie; Batt Insulation: Owens Corning; Acoustical Tile: Armstrong; Paint: ICI.
DIV 10: Toilet Accessories: Bradley; Baby Changing Stations: Koala; Operable Partitions: Hufcor.

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