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New Construction Offers ‘Home’ for Children With Illnesses

The first of three cottages designed by San Diego-based architecture and interior design firm Austin Veum Robbins Parshalle has been completed at the San Diego Center for Children.

The Serenity Fund Cottage replaces older dormitory facilities at the center’s campus at 3002 Armstrong Street in Kearny Mesa.

The 6,967-square-foot cottage has 16 dorm rooms, two shared living areas with kitchen facilities, a den that also serves as a visitation and counseling room, a laundry facility, and a patio area for children receiving treatment at the center.

The San Diego Center for Children is a 113-year-old nonprofit organization providing residential mental health care, day treatment, academic enrichment and foster family services for children between 6 and 18 years old who suffer from severe psychiatric, developmental, neurological and emotional illnesses.

“We wanted new classrooms and needed new cottages,” said Sharon Smith, vice president of the San Diego Center for Children Foundation. Previously, the center’s dorm facilities had long, dark hallways with rooms on each side, Smith said.

“The internal planning reinforces the family-home theme by grouping the children in two eight-bedroom wings, with common staff facilities separating the two homes,” said Eduardo Savigliano, Austin Veum’s project director.

Savigliano added, “We feel that the cottages will provide a home environment for the children, in contrast to an institutional setting.”

The Dr. Irwin and Joan Jacobs Cottage will be similar to the Serenity Fund Cottage. The John and Rebecca Moores Cottage will have two large treatment units for therapy sessions with children and their families, six consultation rooms, a multipurpose room, and additional office space.

All three cottages are expected to be completed by the spring of 2002.

“Sheltering and Healing Our Children” is the Center for Children’s capital campaign, raising money to replace buildings on the facility’s grounds that date back to the 1950s. Donations totaling $4.3 million were contributed. Another $10.7 million is being raised for other new facilities at the center’s campus.

Multimedia home and garden guru Martha Stewart is scheduled to visit San Diego on Nov. 19 to visit the main kitchen at the center. A lecture and luncheon with Stewart is scheduled for noon at the Hyatt Regency to raise money for new kitchen facilities at the center.

Greystone Homes/Lennar in Carlsbad is the construction manager for the cottages. Connie Kortman Designer Inc. of Solana Beach did the interior design for the Serenity Fund Cottage.

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