Members of Associated General Contractors of Connecticut have pulled together with the Fairfield County Building Trades Council and the Fairfield County Building Trades Association to help build Ann's Place, The Home of I Can, a nonprofit agency in Danbury that offers support to about 700 cancer patients monthly. The approximately $5.5 million, 17,000-sq-ft center was built primarily with in-kind contributions, although the agency has raised $2 million to purchase discounted materials which were not donated.
“It’s an unusual coalition of contractors and unions working together,” says Wilda Hayes, executive director of Ann’s Place. “It’s been a long and rewarding process.”
That process began in 2004, when the nonprofit obtained the 4-acre site for $1. Paul P. Dinto, CEO of Paul Dinto Electrical Contractors of Middlebury, Conn., and president of Ann’s Place board of directors, chairs the Building Committee. He attributes much of the project’s success to the universal nature of cancer.
“Cancer does not discriminate,” Dinto says. “Everybody has been touched by it.”
Despite the economy, firms donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the project, says John Farnham, executive director of AGC of Conn.
“We used the economy to squeeze a little harder,” Farnham says. “Things are slow, and we’ve had a huge fall off in activity.”
Manafort Brothers of Plainville, Conn., provided site work, keeping five pieces of equipment on site for about four months.
“Them getting in early and showing it can be done was a great inspiration,” Farnham says.
DCA Architects/Planners of Ridgefield, Conn., designed the facility and the Morganti Group of Danbury, Conn., provided construction management.
The center is about 85% finished, with the opening set for spring 2010.
“To get where we are has been a challenge, and now we have to get over the hump,” Dinto says. “We’re tight with money, and the economy is not the best.”
Already the signage at the new site has drawn patients to the center. Hayes says the new facility will allow the organization to expand its programs.
“The building is a transformation for the agency,” Hayes says. “It’s going to be a wonderful community asset.”