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Posted 23 August 2012 | Add new comment
Renowned in the City of Escondido, California, for their organic soap company, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, the Bronner family is not only business-minded, but they also take charity to heart. Earlier this year, the James A. Bronner Family Branch of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego opened at the Valley Center Upper Elementary School campus in Valley Center. Named after the late Jim Bronner, who served on the board of the San Diego Boys and Girls Clubs for many years and served as president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, the project received a $1 million donation from the soap company for its construction. The new branch provides a permanent gathering place for Boys and Girls Club members, a welcome change from the club’s former residence in a temporary modular building on the school’s grounds.
Although it wasn’t constructed from the ground up, the project included renovation and the modernization of a 5,700-square-foot, 1960’s era wood-framed multipurpose building that previously served as the Valley Center Upper Elementary School’s gymnasium. Now functioning as a joint-use facility for the Boys and Girls Club and the school, the space features a computer lab, arts and craft rooms, conference areas, and a spacious multipurpose room.
Because the Bronner family values conservation and recycling, they requested that the club include a “green” component. Fans 8 feet in diameter don the club’s ceilings and help reduce the use of air conditioning. Light tubes channel sunlight inside the facility to decrease the building’s energy usage. Recycled materials were also used in the club’s flooring.
The project was a resounding success; however, challenges did occur during design. The requirement of blending new construction with the existing construction became an even greater challenge because of the rigid design and construction approval process of the Division of the State Architect (DSA). The DSA also has a demanding approval process for the quality of construction provided at California public schools; therefore, the highest level of care was taken in the club’s formation.
Now that the club is in full use, it has proven to be a very useful and welcome addition for the community. When the club is not in use by children who need a safe, fun, and educational place to go after school or during summer breaks, the school district may use the facility for its activities and the public is welcome to rent rooms for evening and weekend functions – for many decades to come.