Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health Campus, Avondale Meadows Health & Wellness Center, Vision Academy at RiversideIndy 25th anniversary, Healthcare, Community involvement, Education
When the community around us succeeds, so do we. The city of Indianapolis has played a major role in Pepper's growth in Indiana over the last 25 years.
And there's an extra sense of pride you feel when you're working on something that will have a direct impact on a community.
A city's need
Some of those projects are important by their very nature. Healthcare projects mark an obvious significance to a community because of the services they provide to a neighborhood.
Or in some cases, for an entire city.
Eskenazi Health has a long history rooted in Indianapolis: it was the first Indiana hospital, it was the first ambulance service to use two-way radio for coordination dispatch, it was the first hospital in the city to hire African American staff and to admit African American patients, and it opened the state's first trauma center.
After 150 years of progress and medical advances, Eskenazi's facilities were deteriorating. And it was the community that stepped up.
In 2009, a referendum to construct a new hospital received an overwhelming 85 percent voter approval. Later that year, Pepper was selected as the lead construction manager on the project.
Construction of the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health campus began in 2010, and in alignment with the hospital's history, it included several groundbreaking features upon its opening three years later:
• First public health campus registered in the national LEED database with LEED Gold Certification.
• First-of-its-kind sky farm, a rooftop garden that grows fresh produce used by food services.
• 18 pieces of art commissioned to support healing.
• The Commonground public gathering space.
• The ability to see 20 percent more patients with a 30 percent smaller footprint.
In 2014 – one year after the project's completion – the hospital received the Indy Chamber's Monumental Affair Award. The award acknowledges individuals and businesses that contribute to excellence in the Indianapolis area, and it solidified that the hospital was fulfilling its purpose of caring for the people of the community.
The city recognized the need for a new facility, and the community has since experienced its positive impact. Today, Eskenazi Health provides care in nearly 1 million outpatient visits per year at facilities on and off its main campus.
Impactful organizations aren't limited to healthcare. Nonprofit organizations can provide growth, opportunity and longstanding traditions to a community.
Since its inception in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has been serving communities across the country through youth development programs. From June 2008 to March 2010, we were privileged to assist the Crossroads of America Council with the construction of their new headquarters and Scout Education and Program Center.
The facility now serves the central Indiana Scouting community, which includes nearly 11,000 volunteers and more than 34,500 Scouts and their families. The 23,400-square-foot Scout education and program facility houses administration space, executive offices, indoor and outdoor training areas, meeting rooms and a Scout retail store, all of which contributes to the good stewardship and conservation that is important to the organization.
The project team utilized native, Indiana resources, and the site includes native landscaping, wetlands and tree preservation areas.
Within the first two years of opening, non-Scout groups were also able to utilize the facilities for gatherings, including DNR, Girl Scouts, Red Cross, Lawrence Township Schools and United Way.
Revitalizing a neighborhood
Designated a Medically Underserved Area (MUA), it was important for the Avondale Meadows neighborhood in Indianapolis to find a way to promote healthy living and provide access to a wellness facility for its residents.
The solution – Avondale Meadows Health Wellness Center – came from a collaboration between the Meadows Community Foundation, the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis and HealthNet with the goal of making health care and fitness more accessible.
The 70,000-square-foot YMCA, health clinic and community center features a wellness and exercise area, gymnasium, multi-purpose room, locker rooms, child watch and nursery areas, ball fields, community gardens and walking/biking trails.
Built on an old, abandoned parking lot, it gave the land a new purpose – and provided a renewed foundation to the community.
Not only that, but the project team worked to incorporate local community and diversity involvement into the project.
As a community investment, it was important that the Health and Wellness Center be tied to the surrounding area even while under construction. A bi-monthly newsletter was distributed to the surrounding neighborhoods to keep local neighbors informed about the progress and to generate excitement. The development and construction team committed to employing qualified local residents for the project. Resumes were collected by the Meadows Community Foundation, and qualified candidates were forwarded to trade partners as potential employees to assist with the project. Overall, the project achieved 16% MBE / 8% WBE / 3% VBE participation.
Upon its opening in September 2013, it offered personal physicians and social and recreational programing for a previously underserved neighborhood.
The Avondale Meadows Health and Wellness Center was a community investment, and it was recognized as such when it received the Indy Chamber's 2014 Neighborhood Revitalization Monumental Award.
A new vision
Every once in a while, you get the opportunity to do a project in your own neighborhood.
Located about a quarter of a mile away, Vision Academy is the closest project Pepper has ever built to our Indiana office. The school's proximity to us adds extra significance: this project is our neighbor.
The tuition-free public charter school is sponsored by the Mayor's office and open to all students in Indianapolis to provide college-preparatory education for grades K-8 by the year 2020.
We saw the project as more than building classrooms, a cafeteria, gymnasium and two outdoor playgrounds. We were making a contribution to our neighborhood where children could learn and build relationships that will lead them to educational success.
And that's how we approach every project. We think about who, in the end, is this project about? How can we help them? What extra care can we put in?
The trust that businesses and organizations place in Pepper is important to us. No matter the project, it's our responsibility to do the work correctly, and nowhere is that more important to us than in our own community.