The Harris County Engineering Department (HCED) Design Services Team managed the design of the new HAY (Houston Alumni and Youth) Center Campus project, which will soon be providing housing and wrap-around services for youth and young adults leaving foster care.
This 3.268-acre project site located at 3131 Gulf Freeway will include a 50-unit residential building with a community space, kitchen, small gym, business center and private study rooms to house youth aging out of foster care. The campus will also contain a 17,000-square-foot wrap-around services building with offices, meeting rooms, life skills training rooms and a computer lab. The $39 million HAY Center Campus Plan is primarily funded through $9 million from ARPA and block grants of up to $25 million received by the County and the City of Houston.
The HAY Center, a program of Harris County Resources for Children and Adults, receives over 1,400 service referrals for youth per year. With direct input from their users, the HAY Center worked with Gensler Architects to develop a vision and key components for the campus. The HCED - Design Services Team started negotiating with Gensler Architects in early 2020 and the design was completed in the 4th quarter of 2021. The campus is soon in construction and is scheduled to be completed by the 3rd quarter of 2024.
“For many years, this campus has been a dream and a vision for The HAY Center staff, the foster youth, and supporters,” said Joel Levine, Executive Director of Harris County Resources for Children and Adults. “This will be the place where youth can call their own; a home and a community where they get the space, security, and the resources they need to grow into who they were meant to be.”
Every year, approximately 200 youth adults leave the Harris County Foster System. The residential building will serve as bridge housing to allow youth aging out of foster care to become more productive adults in a permanent housing situation. The campus will have access to several METRO stops as well as nearby hike and bike trails for easy travel to and from campus for residents without a vehicle.
When complete, the project is anticipated to feature Low Impact Development (LID) and achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification.
If you are interested in learning more about the HAY Center Campus Plan, please email the Design Project Manager, Amber Thibodeaux, at firstname.lastname@example.org.