The new campus for the Wichita Children’s Home replaces an outgrown and outdated 125-year-old location for the program. Spanning over 13 acres and featuring nearly 70,000 square feet of new construction, the three new buildings will be a safe and welcoming place for Wichita’s neglected youth.
The Apartments are the centerpiece of the Wichita Children’s Home’s transitional living program. BRIDGES, an acronym for “Building Responsibility and Independence through Developing Goals through Empowerment Skills,” aims to help at-risk youth in the community. The primary goal is to provide safe housing while they continue their education and develop the skills they need to become self-sufficient adults, good parents and successful, independent members of the community.
With the mission to acclimate adolescents to a normal life on their own as young adults, the building was designed much like a traditional apartment layout. In addition to the 31, private units, it also includes several key shared amenities, such as a teaching kitchen, licensed daycare, study room, classroom and a great room for social gatherings. There are also in-house offices for staff, program managers and case managers.
Each compact apartment has a kitchenette, bathroom, living space and sleeping area. They are separated into 1-bed, 2-bed, studio and ADA-compliant studio units. The teaching kitchen features an island design that supports a group learning environment. Residents can observe program staff as they demonstrate how to cook simple meals for one or two people. The classroom reinforces the program’s goal of continuing education and GED courses from public school faculty.
The building was envisioned as a modern craftsman residential style to create a warm, welcoming place. That feeling is supported by rich brick hues and earth toned stucco. Fiber cement shingle panels provide cost-effective visual accent, human scale and durability. The interior finish selection focuses on low maintenance and resilience. Vinyl plank (simulated hardwoods) and luxury vinyl tile (simulated stone) are found throughout the floors. An open oak stair at the intersection of the main corridors catches the eye as one enters the building. Bold accent walls impart visual interest throughout the living units, offices and daycare. Throughout each space, emphasis was placed on safety and security for residents and staff.