Building Community Dreams at the Shafter Learning Center

By Wendy Helfenbaum 02-24-2020
QUICK SHARE
Tag Icon

With "Have Dreams" as its slogan, the Shafter Learning Center is a place where kids can find unique educational opportunities that help them aspire to greater heights and achieve bigger dreams. Located in Shafter, CA, the center's offerings range from courses in science, history, and literature to classes that let students learn to build a rocket or study the science of food.

However, the center has recently found itself running out of room. It has outgrown its space in the Kern County Library and needs to build an expansion. The good news is, it's not embarking on this project alone.

With a shingle and glass mat plant in Shafter, GAF is a proud member of the Shafter community. The company's employees are dedicated to investing in the community that so many of them call home.

In the spirit of community development, GAF has teamed up with the Project for Public Spaces (PPS), an organization that works collaboratively with communities and companies to create sustainable public community spaces. Together with the city of Shafter, they've put plans in place to transform the Shafter Learning Center's adjacent outdoor space into an expanded hub for learning.

Gathering Great Ideas

When beginning their plans for the space, representatives from GAF prioritized having discussions with the local community with the knowledge that the best insights emerge when listening to and working alongside the people directly impacted by their work. More than 15 employees from the GAF plant in Shafter participated in planning sessions, giving them an opportunity to improve their own community at their workplace.

GAF representatives spent many months consulting with residents and education specialists to determine the community's top needs, like flexible classroom and meeting space, open outdoor areas, and a new children's library where families can relax and read together.

GAF managers also led workshops with plant employees about the new initiative, held conversations with community leaders, and took tours of potential project sites. Two possible concepts for the new Shafter Learning Center expansion emerged from these conversations.

Collaborating with Residents

GAF and PPS also took steps to make sure they heard from the people who would be using this new space every day.

To do that, the company held a collaborative community forum. More than 340 Shafter residents and city leaders gathered for a fun community event held on September 28 at the Shafter Learning Center. They came together to help reimagine the future of their learning center and share their vision for the space.

The inspiring conversations resulted in some excellent ideas. Suggestions included maximizing unused space to add a patio, adding comfortable seating areas, and outfitting an upcycled shipping container to be an all-purpose gathering spot. Guests provided feedback on the two proposed concepts to expand the space by posting their suggestions onto visual displays. Options included a new children's classroom and adjacent workshop space for woodworking, jewelry-making and welding, as well as a new two-story building next to the center. An open courtyard, plus space for events or parties, rounded out the proposals.

Forging New Dreams for the Future

Equipped with community inputs and insights from the learning center's users, GAF is now ready to decide exactly which elements to include in the expansion, design the project and, ultimately, get building.

As GAF, PPS and city officials move forward with this exciting project, everyone feels confident that this initiative will help the city of Shafter protect what matters most—a strong educational foundation for its citizens. As a proud member of the Shafter community, GAF is excited to continue investing in its neighbors.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wendy Helfenbaum is a Montreal-based journalist, content marketing writer and TV producer who covers design, architecture, real estate, gardening and travel for many publications and brands, including Country Gardens, Metropolis Magazine, Realtor.com, Marriott Traveler, Costco Connection, Toll Brothers, PBS NextAvenue.org and many more. Wendy loves keeping up with current design trends and is addicted to home improvement DIY reality shows. Follow her @WendyHelfenbaum.

LATEST UPDATES
At GAF's shingle manufacturing facility in Baltimore, Maryland there are several day-to-day responsibilities in addition to manufacturing, including materials planning, purchasing, and waste management, to name a few. Beginning in 2018, Baltimore's then-plant manager, Steve Ziegfeld, tasked the team with another challenge: focusing on their plant's waste streams in order to identify ways to make their operation greener and more efficient. Given GAF's long-time focus on sustainability and knowledge of Baltimore's environmental footprint, focusing on waste would result in the most significant improvements.
Often, when a homeowner calls you for a roof repair or replacement, time is of the essence. Maybe their roof suffered storm damage, or they're selling their home, or they've found a leak that's damaging their ceiling. Whatever the reason, these time-sensitive requests require contractors who can quickly provide a roof proposal and get to work.
Wind uplift is a primary concern when installing a retrofit single-ply roof system (RSPRS) over a structural metal panel roof. ASTM E 1592 physical testing was performed on three test roof assemblies in order to determine the wind uplift resistance of an RSPRS installed over existing structural metal panel roof systems fastened directly into purlins. This paper presents the findings and conclusions of that analysis.Read the full paper Physical Testing for Wind Resistance of Retrofit Single-Ply Roof Systems Over Structural Metal Panel Roof Systems.View more white papers from GAF on our Architect & Specifier Education Resource Page.
When your peers refer to you as The Maestro, you know your career has had an impact. Erasmo 'Mitos' Fuentes—a teacher, roofer, business owner, and GAF CARE trainer—leads by example, and he represents all that is possible when you work hard and aim high.
As social distancing eases up little by little around the country, it's time to think about getting back to work. For some contractors, that means tackling the long list of jobs that were delayed while social distancing was in effect.
Whether you're purchasing or repairing your roof, you'll need a trusted professional to help you make the best choices for your home.But if you've never been through the process of hiring a roofing contractor before, it can be difficult to know what to look for. From referrals and licenses to manufacturer designations, here's how to decide which roofing professional to trust with your home.
This blog contains information created by a variety of sources, including internal and third party writers. The opinions and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of GAF. The content is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute financial, accounting, tax or legal advice. GAF does not guarantee the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of the information. In no event shall GAF be held responsible or liable for errors or omissions in the content or for the results, damages or losses caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on the content.

Interested in sharing or republishing our content? We kindly ask you to adhere to our guidelines.