METROPOLITAN INTER-FAITH ASSOCIATION
From its founding, MIFA has occupied a grocery store building in a neighborhood convenient to its clientele. The building is a one-story steel-framed structure built in the early 1960’s with approximately 37,800 square feet on one level. The property is surrounded by an eight-foot tall chain link fence to discourage crime, although break-ins have occurred, including one during construction. The interior had been subdivided into a confusing warren of small windowless rooms, most of which had suspended acoustical ceilings eight feet high. A covered walkway with exposed steel columns extended across the front of the building although a past renovation had enclosed about 800 square feet of this area for office space. The exterior of the building was brick veneer and a tall brick pylon, formerly the grocery store’s sign, displayed the organization’s name and logo. A parking lot, which was resurfaced and restriped during the renovation, was located in front of the building and a secured van parking area was located to the west.
When the needs of MIFA began to overwhelm its existing facility, a decision was made to completely renovate the building. A major capital campaign was initiated to establish an ongoing endowment and to fund renovation of the facility. Early in the process, there was some discussion about abandoning the building and relocating to another part of the city or totally demolishing the building and starting over with a new structure. The architects, along with many of the staff, felt that the organization’s identity was bound to its location and convinced the Board that preserving and renovating the existing building would not only be the right urban design decision but could actually enhance the organization’s mission and its role in the community.
Completed under budget and opening on schedule, the facility has not only generated a renewed enthusiasm and commitment by its "non-profit family", but has also greatly enhanced the organization’s ability to efficiently and effectively provide the many social services needed in the community.
This project was designed by Louis R. Pounders. It received 5 design awards and was a Finalist for a national AIA Institute Honor Award for Architecture.