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The REACH Ashland Youth Center provides a safe and healthy environment for Alameda County’s youth.
Photo: Steve Whittaker 2013

REACH Ashland Youth Center

The REACH Youth Center provides hundreds of Ashland youth ages 11 to 24 with integrated health services, career development services, and programs to build and express their creativity. The Center includes a dance studio, a digital media arts center, computer lab, gym, career development and employment center, health and dental clinic, child care center, and library. In designing the REACH Ashland Youth Center to supply a range of free youth support services in a comfortable, community atmosphere, Alameda County encouraged youth involvement and prioritized environmental protection.

Community and Youth Involvement From the Start

The County partnered with its architect to seek input from local youth in the design process. Many suggestions were integrated into the final design, such as interior glass panels for an open atmosphere. Local youth have been hired as REACH employees, further encouraging community engagement and providing professional growth opportunities.

Youth Services

  • On-site health, dental, and counseling services to bring care directly to youth
  • Music and art programs to build creativity and personal development
  • Career support to boost professional growth
  • Free access to provides a safe and healthy community space for the County’s youth

Green Building Features

The Center received a U.S. Green Building Council LEED® Platinum rating. Green features include:

  • Renewable Energy – A solar array on the roof produces 52,000 kWh of electricity; equivalent to the annual energy needs of 6 homes
  • Energy Efficiency – Designed to be 42% more energy efficient than required by California’s stringent energy efficiency standards
  • Saving Water – Bay-friendly landscaping, high efficiency irrigation, and low-flow plumbing reduce outdoor water usage by 50% and indoor usage by 30%; storm water is collected from the roof and sent to planter boxes to be filtered before leaving the site
  • Reducing Waste – 75% of construction waste was diverted from the landfill for recycling
  • Sustainable Transportation – Easily accessible by four bus lines; bicycle parking and preferred parking for fuel efficient vehicles
  • Buying Green – Constructed from 20% recycled materials and 10% locally sourced materials
  • High Indoor Environmental Quality – Interior building materials, finishes, and materials are low in VOCs and other interior pollutants

Green Roof Offers Dual Benefit

The Center’s roof and site surfaces are designed to reduce the amount of heat absorbed from the sun, with a vegetated roof area and white reflective roofing material. (Dark roofs and pavement absorb solar radiation during the day, then radiate heat at night, causing urban areas to be uncomfortably hot.) The green roof creates a double benefit for the environment, both reducing the building’s contribution to increased urban temperatures and decreasing storm water runoff. Conventional roofing techniques also raise indoor temperatures, so the green roof also reduces the Center’s energy costs.

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