New Community Campus Hopes to Bring Gathering Space, Activity Hub to Austin

A massive community campus will soon welcome hundreds of kids and families from South and West Side neighborhoods. 

It’s a major project the organization Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development, or BUILD, is taking on. 

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It might look like an ordinary gym but for Juvon Crawford it’s more than that.

“I know it’s just for basketball right now but we hope to have volleyball going on and just having people in general joining this space,” said Crawford.

The 19-year-old has been hired as the sports coordinator for the new gym facility. He was 8 years old when he started to participate with the organization after school.

“I love the staff. They don’t treat you like you’re beneath them, they treat you like a grown person who has aspirations and dreams and they encourage you,” he said. “That’s what draws me in the most.”

CEO Adam Alonso watched Crawford grow and says young people like him are why he was driven to expand BUILD’s Location.

“To see our young people and to know that they actually want to work here that’s the exciting part,” Alonso said. “You have generations that reach back, so now Juvon is going to reach back to the next group of young men and women who are coming through and say that was me, I was you let me tell you what’s it like.”

The project is a massive expansion to BUILD’s existing center along Leamington and Laramie avenues in the south Austin neighborhood.

“So we’re in the new building which is 56,000 square feet. We are on the first floor and right behind us is the café. So, South Austin will have this amazing café you can come in and all the seating here to have meetings,” he said. “young people can come after school, grab a smoothie, whatever it may be.”

It’s a race to the finish line as Alonzo takes us through the vision of the center. The campus will also include music and art studios, therapy rooms, a variety of classes for all ages and a community garden.

“Look at this asset in our community,” Alonso said. “We want our kids to come to school in our neighborhood and have this community center accessible to them.”

The organization’s roots started in 1969 as a program to help transform young people’s lives.

“BUILD start off was to prevent gang violence to get people off the streets. I believe they always stick to that,”  Crawford said. “Over the past 10 to 20 years have expanded to youth engagement and community health.”

It’s not only a youth center but a community hub where Crawford says families will be able to get involved.

“They get to be here present,” Crawford said. “They don’t just get to see from afar and they can come in and see what’s going on.”

The campus is set to open with a special ribbon cutting in mid-January.

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