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Form and function: Chrysalis to expand Downtown location with new aesthetic

By Hayley Fox
Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2012, at 09:12AM
Hayley Fox

Chrysalis is expanding their current Main Street location to become 11,500 square feet of classrooms, program offices and more.

Downtown's Chrysalis center is expanding their location with a $1.7 million construction and renovation project that involves taking over the retail space between their two current locations.

The non-profit that helps homeless and low-income residents find employment, has seen an 80 percent increase in demand for services since 2007, said CEO Mark Loranger.

"We knew we needed to do something," he said.

Chrysalis currently occupies 516 and 522 S. Main Street, but when the handbag store that separated the two decided to relocate, the non-profit seized the opportunity to buy the property and expand, said Loranger.

When construction is finished, the Downtown center will have 11,500 square feet of contiguous space -- making way for two new classrooms, 16 new computer stations and a designated computer lab, and additional program offices and lobby space.

Loranger said Chrysalis' computer training programs, which helps job-seekers set up email addresses, look for jobs online, and develop overall computer skills, is in dire need of the additional space.

Besides functionality, the organization considered the aesthetics of the new building and how it would fit into the community, Loranger said, among newer neighbors like the Nickel Diner.

"When we did the design we really wanted to compliment the changes you're seeing on Main Street," he added.

He said that although having durable roll-down front doors would be a safer bet, Chrysalis made the conscious decision to put in glass instead -- as a signal to the community of the neighborhood's progress.

Construction on the newly purchased space at 518/520 Main Street began in January, and is expected to be completed around the end of April, Loranger said. Then, Chrysalis will move programs in and begin renovation on the older space.

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