Mesa's Marc Center plans to build a facility in the underserved east side of town. The 36,705-square-foot Marc Center East Vocational Training Facility planned for east Mesa, near Signal Butte Road on the south side of Main Street, would be in addition to the center's downtown site on Country Club Drive.
Plans for the proposed facility will be discussed at 5 p.m. Wednesday by the Design Review Board in council chambers.
The organization, which was founded in 1957 and assists people with disabilities through vocational training and support, is requesting the new site because it needs more space, officials said.
"The existing vocational training center is too small, and we want something new and more modern," said Pat Gilbert, chief administration officer for the Marc Center. "It's a natural part of our growth and development."
He said his organization hopes approval of the plans happens by late April, followed by a yearlong construction project scheduled to begin July 1.
"It's not unusual for plans to go through close examination in the process," Gilbert said of the private, not-for-profit group. "We hope to start construction July 1 and end by July 1, 2010."
Gilbert said the Marc Center wants to offer more resources to the people it serves. "This is an opportunity for individuals with different types of disabilities to receive aptitude training, coaching, placement, a whole array" of services, he said.
The center serves about 3,200 clients, and projections have that number nearly doubled by 2013, Gilbert said. With an operating budget expected to expand from $21 million to more than $35 million in four years, Gilbert said getting ahead of that growth was crucial.
Mesa Councilman Scott Somers, who represents District 6 where the site is planned, said the facility would "integrate a work opportunity center and a living center for those with disabilities."
Somers said his one criticism was that the site would not be on a mass-transit line.
"The closest bus stop is Power Road and Main Street," he said. "They do have their own van that will help get people around," though.
Somers said the idea impressed him.
"The initial concept designs looked very nice and the idea of having living and working options for people so that they have the ability to work and live independent in their lives is a good thing," he said.