Backers of a new facility where children can receive free medical and dental services in Chandler have raised about $1.9 million for the project. Now they need about $1.3 million more.
Chandler CARE (Children's Assistance Resources and Education) Center, formerly known as the San Marcos Family Resource Center, is planning an 8,800-square-foot building at Galveston Elementary School. Currently, the program is located in two rooms at San Marcos Elementary School, where it will remain until the new building is ready, said director Susan Horan.
All the services provided are free to low-income families: medical assessment, dental care, immunizations and social services. With more space, more doctors can volunteer their time and triple the number of youths seen each year. It will also allow expansion of the dental and social services components.
"We serve children from all over Chandler," Horan said. "We get heavy uses from schools in and adjacent to the redevelopment area: San Marcos, Hartford, Frye, Galveston, Knox. There are pockets of ... low-income families in every single school, but the number of children we're seeing from the more affluent schools is increasing, too, as parents lose jobs or have to drop medical insurance for children because of costs."
Building funds are coming from a variety of sources: The Chandler Unified School District is providing the land, the city is providing $500,000 through a federal Community Development Block Grant, the Chandler Services Club is giving $15,000 a year for five years, and several designers are giving free services to create an environmentally friendly building that meets national "green" standards under LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a program that is overseen by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Donations started coming in nearly six years ago, but the events of 9/11 stalled fundraising, Horan said. Now, it's picking up and she's hoping construction can start in the near future.
"The district is fiscally sound and conservative. We wouldn't dream of starting a building without the funds in hand," she said.
Individual or corporate donors could give funds that will be recognized by a building brick, she said. Corporations can also give a one-time gift or set up a five-year giving plan, such as the Chandler Services Club.
But until the money is collected, the building will have to wait.
"As much as we want to get that built, we want (the funds) to get it finished," she said.