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Child Crisis Arizona breaks ground on ‘Net Zero’ campus in Mesa

Photo of Child Crisis Arizona groundbreaking in Mesa
From left are Ben Shunk, Chasse Building Team project director; Susan Barnes, Phoenix Community Development & Investment Corporation board chair; Mary Michel, Child Crisis Arizona Volunteer Campaign co-chair; Jeff Friesen, Child Crisis Arizona board chair and Southwest Region Enterprise Bank & Trust president; Torrie Taj, Child Crisis Arizona CEO; Kathye Brown, donor; Francisco Heredia, Mesa Vice Mayor; Juan Selgado, PCDIC CEO; Doug McCord, Architectural Resources Team principal; Cheryl Ruggerio, Thunderbird Charities; and Pat Williams, Thunderbird Charities. (File Photos/
2.4-acre Child Crisis Arizona campus to provide comprehensive familial services
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Child Crisis Arizona joined local dignitaries Wednesday, Jan. 19, to celebrate breaking ground for its planned 38,000-square-foot, climate-friendly, ‘Net Zero,’ campus in Mesa.

Those in attendance to celebrate the sprouting brick-and-mortar at 424 W. Rio Salado Parkway included Mesa Vice Mayor Francisco Heredia; major funders Janis Merrill, Kathye Brown, Erik Olsson; Thunderbird Charities, and board members, according to a press release.

The team behind construction, which spans 2.4 acres and is a envisaged two-story campus, is putting sustainability at the forefront, proponents of the project content.

Architectural Resource Team serves as the architect on the project and CHASSE Building Team as the general contractor.

“Child Crisis Arizona has experienced unprecedented program growth especially in its early education programs. This growth meant our staff members and programs were sprinkled throughout the Valley as we didn’t have adequate space,” said Torrie Taj, CEO of Child Crisis Arizona.

“To give perspective, in 2022, across all programs, the agency served over 7,500 unduplicated individuals. This campus will offer additional program space for both Child Crisis Arizona and partner organizations to provide transformational programs focused on impact for underserved children, youth, and families. Establishing this new campus will centralize Child Crisis Arizona operations and leverage synergies with partner organizations.”

Child Crisis Arizona campus to offer needed services

This new campus will become the new home to services for low-income children and families including:

  • Foster care and adoption services;
  • Family education;
  • Children’s counseling;
  • Health and wellness, including medical screenings and basic needs;
  • Centralized kitchen and food distribution;
  • Centralized administration and philanthropy;
  • Foster teen programs;
  • Art, dance, and music therapy;
  • Volunteer and staff training; and
  • Collaborative partnerships.

For Barry Chasse, founder of the CHASSE Building Team, the project offers a chance to showcase the latest in sustainable development.

“Though the Child Crisis Arizona campus will have a deep, everlasting impact on the community, it will have a very small impact on the environment,” he said. “It will be a net-zero project, meaning the campus will generate as much energy as it uses during a year.”

Doug McCord, principal at Architectural Resource Team, echoed a similar sentiment.

“We are using a biophilic design throughout, meaning deliberate incorporation of things like natural lighting and ventilation, natural landscape features and other elements for creating a more productive and healthier built environment for people,” says Doug McCord, principal at Architectural Resource Team. “It will meet the highest level of standards for Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and attain a Living Futures Petal Project Certification upon its completion.”

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