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56,000-square-foot Community House to be built in East Liberty

The East End Cooperative Ministry (EECM) is planning to build a 56,000-square-foot Community House on the corner of Penn Circle North and East, which will consolidate its current 15 locations.
On a lot that once housed the Gulf gas station, the Community House will be built to be LEED Platinum certified, says Phil Hallen, Vice President of EECM. It will feature a geothermal energy source, onsite water management and a building shell.
Dedicated to serving the East End's hungry, homeless and at-risk youth, the EECMwill use the House as a central location for its programs, says Hallen. Shying away from an industrial feel, the House will be designed to greet guests with an open front porch and rocking chairs.
Inside, the House will feature areas for temporary housing, a food pantry and soup kitchen, counseling rooms and classrooms. "Not just to get people off the street, but to give them some direction, that's the important thing," says Hallen.
EECM is working with Phipps Conservatory to construct an onsite greenhouse, and the House will surround a central courtyard for guests to use. It will also house the ORR Center, which offers transitional housing for those who were recently released from the hospital.
The group is working with Perkins Eastman and Jaxson Development to start the project in Fall 2011. Hallen says they hope to finish by Spring 2012.

Writer: Alex Audia
Source: Phil Hallen, EECM
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