Lexi Hart

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Girl Scouts open $18 million leadership center in Phoenix

PHOENIX- A new leadership center for the Girl Scouts is complete and set to open on Friday April 10 in Phoenix.

The Bob and Renee Parsons Leadership Center for Girls and Women at Camp South Mountain is a year-round camping facility.

The center was developed to provide girls with a variety of skills promoted within the Girl Scouts organization, including STEM and leadership training. The center includes 15 cabins that sleep 10 girls each, an aquatic center, a playing field and an archery range.

The $18 million facility was designed with sustainability in mind. Each part of the building is created to blend seamlessly with the desert landscape it’s nestled into. Marlene Imirzian, the lead architect and founder of Marlene Imirzian & Associates as well as a former Girl Scout, used recycled building materials and took into consideration the native surrounding landscapes when designing the buildings.

The Bob & Renee Parsons Leadership Center for Girls and Women at Camp South Mountain is nestled into South Mountain while remaining close to the city. (Photo by Lexi Hart/Cronkite News)

The walls were made with 80% reusable materials. According to the building’s architect, they will never need to be painted or touched up. (Photo by Lexi Hart/Cronkite News)

The center will be home to a Girl Scouts museum, featuring artifacts like the ones pictured. (Photo by Lexi Hart/Cronkite News)

The pool and aquatics area were two of the few remaining buildings that were repurposed on the grounds. (Photo by Lexi Hart/Cronkite News)

The cabins’ roofs have been pitched to collect rainwater, which will create a natural water feature and plant watering system during rainstorms. (Photo by Lexi Hart/Cronkite News)

While each cabin is exactly alike, they’re each arranged differently to mimic the natural lines of South Mountain. (Photo by Lexi Hart/Cronkite News)

The cabins allow plenty of natural light during the day, eliminating the need to use artificial lighting while there’s daylight available. (Photo by Lexi Hart/Cronkite News)

The cabins are designed to sleep 10, but the girls are encouraged to get out and enjoy the facilities during the day. (Photo by Lexi Hart/Cronkite News)

The center was designed so the Girl Scouts would feel comfortable gathering anywhere around the area, not only in their cabins. (Photo by Lexi Hart/Cronkite News)

The center was designed to fit into the desert landscape as seamlessly as possible, which is why you’ll find natural elements both inside and out. (Photo by Lexi Hart/Cronkite News)

In an effort to make the building as sustainable as possible, the building’s walls were made of 80% reusable materials. (Photo by Lexi Hart/Cronkite News)

The center will serve as a summer camp facility for local Girl Scouts troops. (Photo by Lexi Hart/Cronkite News)

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“The leadership center is designed to honor the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert and remains true to the Girl Scout values of protecting the environment and using resources wisely,” said Imirzian. “These same design features also promote a sustainable community, fostering connections, integration and engagement.”

According to Imirzian, the cabin’s roofs are pitched to collect water during rainstorms, which will run off the roof and simultaneously create a natural water feature while watering the surrounding desert landscape. The material used to build the outer walls of the structure is made of 80 percent recycled material. According to Imirzian, it will never need to be painted or touched up. Adding to the sustainability of the design, the buildings were constructed to let in enough natural light that artificial lighting is unnecessary during the day.

During the initial stages of the project, more than 900 members of the Arizona Cactus-Pine Girl Scout Council were asked for their input on what they wanted the new camp to look like and represent. Today, the center reflects their ideas and requests, with one common, and sustainable, theme: “Green!”

(Video by McKenna Dalgarno/Cronkite News)

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