Benefits and Growth

While this campus transformation is technically a brick-and-mortar project, it is a direct investment in community infrastructure that has implications and effects far beyond BUILD. Expanded and enhanced space, extended days and hours (7 days per week, 6am-midnight), and a 30% increase in BUILD's staff will increase all of our efforts to reduce youth violence, improve physical and emotional health, provide outlets for artistic expression, and support academic success. However, this center will also provide a major symbolic and economic boost to Austin, loudly expressing our belief in Austin’s young people and permanently amplifying the impact of many community partners.

This is the path to happier, healthier young people, and how we become a catalyst for a revitalized, stronger Austin.

Impact to BUILD

At full strength, BUILD serves about 2,500 youth consistently – youth with a custom care plan and a dedicated case manager. BUILD also hosted (and plans to host again) over 50 community events a year, from sports and games to harvest days and art nights, which were all opportunities to engage and recruit additional youth. With a full calendar we could reach more than 2,000 additional young people, with additional family and community members pushing that number even higher.

On our new campus, all of BUILD’s current work will certainly continue, but with additional space and new specialized facilities, key programs will expand:

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Physical Health, Nutrition, and Fitness

Our campus will include a new Gym, Track, and Fitness Center for youth and community members. From kids on the basketball court to community seniors on the walking track to people of all ages working out in the fitness center, intergenerational health will be encouraged. We will also promote Farm to Table eating by connecting the 1,000-lb harvest from the Iris Garden to the kitchen and new café.

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Clinical Mental Health Care/Case Management

BUILD's Clinical Services will have permanently dedicated rooms for intake, individual and group work - no more borrowing staff offices, being bumped by other programs, or holding sessions on benches outside. The new mental health center will be integrated directly into the youth lounge and community spaces, removing any stigma around receiving care and making services available to the wider public. Additionally, specialized shared space will support broader case management work connecting families to services like domestic violence care, court advocates and legal counseling, relocation and rental assistance – as well as alternative expressive therapy treatments, such as movement, meditation, art therapeutics, and more.


Workforce Development

Building futures (workforce training): To help youth build futures, we will offer programs that not only help youth imagine and explore possible futures and careers, but also develop the fundamental skills and interests that will ensure seamless transitions to professional skills and certification programs. Our strongest partnerships will be with Revolution Workshop, Inspiration Corporation, and MetroEdge Development Partners.

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Violence Reduction/Intervention

BUILD will expand the hours of our safe and welcoming space to midnight, all seven days. Through events like "midnight basketball" and late-night movies, and by hosting support group meetings, conflict mediations, peace circles, and simple free time in a restful place, BUILD anti-violence mentors will be able to connect with hundreds more youth each week.

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Music and the Arts

BUILD will offer group and individual lessons in a range of instruments (piano, percussion, guitars), voice, spoken word, electronic music, and sound mixing - all feeding a busy performance calendar of teaching artists, youth shows, and open mics. We anticipate DJ sets on weekends, open community studio nights, and exhibits of local artists. Multipurpose rooms and the gym can all be set up for performances.

Creative Arts:

The Makers' Lab and expanded Art Studio will allow for a much broader Brand BUILD, our creative entrepreneurship program around jewelry and other creative product lines. The technology tools in the art program plus a digital recording studio will provide invaluable experience in graphic design, audio engineering, and artistic creation.

Revolution Workshop:

Will provide a direct path to accreditation in skilled carpentry and construction trades.

Inspiration Kitchens:

Will provide training in culinary skills and customer foodservice in our commercial kitchen.

Metro Edge Development Partners:

Will bring strong IT infrastructure to the community, and the opportunity for youth to train in data center support careers.

Impact to the Community

“The Ripple Effect”

BUILD can no longer grow our programs without new space. But what makes an investment in this infrastructure even more powerful is the additional ripple effects it will have across the whole community: creating jobs, supporting partners, and serving members of the community.

1. Job Creation and Economic Development

Jobs Right Away:

The construction of our campus (starting September 1, 2021) will bring jobs and workers to the neighborhood, including some graduates of our skilled trades workforce development partner, Revolution Workshop. Our own staff will need to grow by 30%, we will be able to hire many more young people – in summer through One Summer Chicago, and throughout the year to serve as greeters and mentors to other youth.

Job Training Programs:

New facilities in the BUILD campus will finally allow us to host meaningful workforce development programs for older youth and emerging adults – while also setting those programs up for success by exposing younger youth to these opportunities, earlier.

  • Our new recording studio will support extensive training and experience in digital media, audio production, and sound design.
  • Partner Revolution Workshop will run a program in our woodshop to provide a direct path to accreditation in skilled carpentry and construction trades.
  • Inspiration Kitchens will use our commercial kitchen to provide training in culinary skills and customer foodservice.
  • Metro Edge Development Partners will not only bring strong IT infrastructure to the community, but will use our Makers’ and Computing Labs to train youth in data center support careers.

Local Entrepreneur Support:

As programs evolve, we also hope that our kitchen and café will serve as an engine to support local food and catering entrepreneurs, giving them access to the commercial kitchen space they need to expand their businesses, as well as a “storefront” to sell their creations and services.

2. Supporting Partners

Austin lacks safe and usable spaces, indoors and outdoors, period. Even rarer are affordable spaces that are heated or cooled, with power and reliable wifi. We will meet this need and provide common spaces for our organizational partners to meet, collaborate, and organize. From domestic violence services, childcare referrals, support and counseling groups, block clubs, political action groups, local elected officials and more – we designed the new BUILD’s meeting spaces so that partners can come in to work with us, and each other.

Spotlight: the Peace and Justice Center

BUILD has been working with a large community team for over three years to bring a restorative justice court to Austin, to help divert non-violent criminals away from the traditional justice system and rebuild trust in the midst of conflict. When we are assigned a judge by the city, the court will hold all proceedings at BUILD. In the meantime, the team’s work continues in the form of BUILD’s Peace and Justice Center (PJC). With BUILD as a central hub, this team is still meeting and working to build West Side capacity for restorative justice advocacy, organizing, shaping community policing strategy, and increasing civic engagement through group work, training, and outreach.

List of Partners:
Partners in the Peace & Justice Center

  • Assoc. of Local Service Organizations
  • Austin Coming Together
  • By the Hand Club
  • Chicago Neighborhood Policing Initiative (NPI)
  • Chicago Police Department
  • CPD Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy CAPS for 15th, 25th, & 11th Districts
  • Chicago Public Schools
  • City Colleges of Chicago
  • Community Justice for Youth
  • Compassionate Citizens Illinois
  • Cook Cty. Juvenile Temporary Detention Ctr.
  • Heartland Alliance
  • Hope Community Church
  • Illinois State’s Attorney
  • Institute for Non-Violence
  • Justice Advisory Council
  • Justice Renewal Initiative
  • Juvenile Intervention & Support Center
  • KL Morton Enterprises
  • Leaders Network
  • Mothers on a Mission
  • Nehemiah Trinity Rising (NTR)
  • Our Resilience
  • The Policing Project
  • Restore Justice
  • South Austin Neighborhood Association
  • Taproots
  • Westside Health Authority
  • Westside Rising

3. Serving the Community

Austin lacks many common mechanisms of community life: cafes, event spaces, performance spaces, fitness centers, and more. With the expansion of our campus and the extension of hours to midnight, BUILD hopes to meet these needs and be a community hub. While we are directly serving community youth and families, we also hope our facilities will be well-used more generally by our neighbors.

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Community Fitness:

Adult citizens of Austin are eager to use BUILD’s new indoor fitness center, and to have a safe space to exercise and walk all year long.


Cafe, and Farm-to-Table food:

BUILD’s cafe will nearly be the only public café in South Austin, and we look forward to it becoming a popular, intergenerational community meeting spot in the neighborhood – ideally featuring produce and eggs from our Iris Garden. With nearly 1,000 lbs of food harvested each season and food distribution collaborations underway with Farmer’s Fridge, Jewel-Osco, and other food partners, we are already a significant provider of food to the neighborhood, and our café will greatly amplify our ability to serve.

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Lift Zone Community Wi-Fi:

We are already a designated Comcast partner for providing stable, lightning-fast, fiber-based wi-fi to communities underserved by technology infrastructure. Our new campus will be a safe place to get a reliable internet connection (and charge devices), free to anyone who needs it.

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Sharing Music and Art:

As BUILD’s own music and art programs expand in this new facility, we envision a busy performance calendar of teaching artists, youth shows, and open mics - even student DJ sets as a soundtrack for open gym nights and other family festivals. With thousands of new square feet of gallery and studio space, we also look forward to hosting open community art studio nights, youth exhibitions, as well as theater shows, film festivals, and movie nights.

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Outdoor Celebrations and Festivals:

Whenever the weather allows, we will take celebrations, performances, and gatherings outdoors to engage more people. Concerts will move outside when they can, movies will screen in the protected Northeast courtyard, our Art Academy team will lead public art works and sidewalk murals. Building on the past success of street fests like Summer of Opportunity, we envision hosting festivals and unique holiday celebrations throughout the year.