First Phase of Chapel Haven Capital Construction Begins
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First Phase of Chapel Haven Capital Construction Begins

Chapel Haven community member Matthew Baker is on the Building Committee and is excited that work is underway.

Thursday, July 13 was a momentous day at Chapel Haven.

That’s the day that, after years of strategic planning, construction began on our campus transformation.

On Thursday and Friday, July 13 and 14, three old houses were demolished on Emerson Street to make way for the new entrance to Chapel Haven’s campus.  All of Westville could hear our Chapel Haven adults cheering with excitement as the work began.

“This moment would not have been possible without the help of our families, our community supporters and our donors,” said President Michael Storz. “We are excited to have broken ground and to be on our way to providing a state-of-the-art campus that furthers our mission of serving adults through the life span with excellence.”

We’re very excited that work is underway and will officially celebrate with a “We Dig Chapel Haven” ceremonial groundbreaking on Friday, Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. on our campus. Invites will be going in the mail shortly. Mark your calendars, grab your hard hats and join us!

Here is an update on what’s happened to date and what comes next:

Under the direction of our architect/construction team from S/L/A/M Collaborative and S/L/A/M Construction Services and our owner’s rep, Leland Torrence, the first step was to secure the area where campus work is happening. A large construction fence has been erected around the south side of our campus. For now, it’s just a plain construction fence but shortly, a colorful wrapping made of fiber mesh will be added celebrating original artworks by our adults and renderings that give us all a peek at the gorgeous end result of the construction. Thanks to our artists and Tina Menchetti for helping design such a cool fence!

Bright and early Thursday morning, heavy equipment rolled in and demolition proceeded to remove three vacant houses on Emerson Street, toward the Fountain Street side of campus. Many of our students and community members joined President Michael Storz on the street at the crack of dawn to watch and cheer as the buildings came down.

The demolitions were necessary to make way for the new Emerson Street entrance to our transformed campus. In a year, you will be able to drive into a new, tree lined parking lot, enter through an archway and be facing our state-of-the-art Welcome Center with the fully realized REACH Building on your right.

The next step will to begin clearing the site and pouring the foundation for construction of the new, 32,500-SF building which will house the Residential Education at Chapel Haven (REACH) and REACH Bridge programs. The new REACH facility will be completed and ready for occupancy by July 2018, so one year from now. This first phase of construction also includes a new addition to the existing Hub Building which will serve as a Welcome Center, to be completed by Thanksgiving 2017.

To see a video of demolition, click here


Rendering by S/L/A/M shows the new archway, with the new REACH building on the right and the new SAIL building on the left.

Please know that entrance onto Chapel Haven’s campus will remain from the parking lot on Whalley until all phases of construction are done.

To see a video of the demolition in action, log onto Chapel Haven’s Facebook page here.

The building team also will begin work on a series of exterior spaces for the residents that we have come to call the “outdoor living room.”

Here are few other things that have been happening hand in hand with construction:


A new Welcome Center will be completed by Thanksgiving.

An arborist from Sandweiss Tree Service of Hamden has been working with the City of New Haven’s arborist to trim and feed all the sycamore trees on Emerson Street, to be sure they stay healthy throughout construction.

Per the request of President Storz, the team has done a considerable job of landscaping and improving our campus overall, especially on the north side of campus and down Emerson Street. A landscaping crew has created mulch beds, trimmed bushes and brought in new plantings to give our campus a facelift.

The residential houses of ASAT have also received considerable updates, including painting of the apartments, replacement of some kitchen appliances, cleaning floors, etc.

Expect to see more work happening at the SAIL and Bridge buildings, including porch and railing repairs and painting.

Stay tuned for more details and mark your calendars for the “We Dig Chapel Haven” ceremonial groundbreaking on Friday, Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. on our campus. Mark your calendars, grab your hard hats and join us!

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This has been a special needs program update from Chapel Haven. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.