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GKTW Village adds Towne Hall for visiting families

Posted on Friday, March 7, 2014 at 12:35 pm

By Tiffanie Reynolds
Staff Writer

Only two months after their Extreme Village Makeover, Give Kids the World broke ground today on one of their biggest expansions to date: Give Kids the World Towne Hall.

Built right next to the Gingerbread House dining facility, this two-story, 52,000 square foot building will connect with and expand the Gingerbread House dining room area, add a food court with venues like Perkins and Boston Market as well as additional kitchen space and a multipurpose room with a stage to hold larger events in the village.

The second floor will serve as administration offices, holding departments such as advancement, vacation planning services, human resources, finances, information technology, operations, communications, development and special events.

Give Kids the World President Pamela Landwirth addresses the crowd Friday morning at the groundbreaking for the facility's Towne Hall building.

Give Kids the World President Pamela Landwirth addresses the crowd Friday morning at the groundbreaking for the facility’s Towne Hall building.

“It’s going to be our opportunity to bring large groups inside. We do so many evening events that get rained out for families. So, we’ll have this beautiful space that will be a wonderful opportunity to bring the party inside when the weather is trying to rain on our parade,” said Give Kids the World President Pamela Landwirth.

The Towne Hall is part of the organization’s 2005 master plan, and will not only have enough indoor space for families, but also bring all of the managing departments to one location. Both of these have been huge needs for Give Kids the World. Landwirth said during the groundbreaking ceremony that 65 percent of their events for families are rained out and have to be moved to a smaller location indoors. All of the managing offices are currently scattered in different buildings across the property, and this new facility will make reaching that management more convenient for both staff and visitors.

For the 2005 master plan, the Towne Hall is a big step for the village in making more room for additions in the future. It took a year and a half to two years of work in the building’s design and details to get to the project’s groundbreaking. Most of that work was spent on figuring out how to best use the space the building would cover.

“Certainly, during the process we looked at how much of a budget we had and how big the building could be, and we tried to accommodate that. You don’t want to spend more money than you have to but you want to give the facilities that they need. It’s a balancing act, and we’re working with Welburn Construction. They’re doing the estimates and bidding and so on and so forth. So, we can bring it into budget and give them what they need,” said Senior Designer Rene Alvarez of C.T. Hsu and Associate Architects.

Construction for Towne Hall is projected to begin within the next month and a half, with the ribbon cutting scheduled for March 7, 2015. Along with the Towne Hall, Landwirth said that Give Kids the World is also focusing on constructing another 60 villas in the coming year, also as part of their 2005 master plan.