Long-Term Partnerships: Rich & Gardner Renovates ProLiteracy Worldwide’s New Headquarters

In 2012, ProLiteracy Worldwide signed a 10-year lease for a building that would become their new headquarters. To start their new journey, they knew they were in need of a partner who could renovate the new space to reflect their vision for the future. This is where Rich & Gardner came in, partnering with ProLiteracy Worldwide and King + King Architects to design and build ProLiteracy’s new headquarters.

Following the completion of the 2012 renovations, ProLiteracy Worldwide moved into the building and has been located there since. This year, 2022, is the 10-year mark since the initial project and partnership.

Considering that ProLiteracy Worldwide’s original lease was ending, they decided it was time to move to a different space in the same area, and they knew exactly who they wanted to partner with on this project. This someone would have to fully understand their vision and would work closely with them to reimagine their brand-new space, which they will soon call home. So, Rich & Gardner, King + King, and ProLiteracy Worldwide have partnered up again to renovate their new headquarters ten years after partnering to renovate their first Syracuse Headquarters.

All parties wereexcited to work together again on another transformative project, everyone got straight to work so that ProLiteracy Worldwide would be able to move into their new headquarters by the end of the year.

ProLiteracy Worldwide: A Community Partner

Rich & Gardner believes in building better communities, and that is precisely what ProLiteracy Worldwide sets out to do on a global scale. Proliteracy is the largest adult literacy and basic education membership organization in the nation, aiming to create a safer, stronger, and more sustainable society through adult education.

ProLiteracy was first introduced in 2002, when two of the oldest and largest adult literacy organizations, Laubach Literacy International and Literacy Volunteers of America, united, becoming ProLiteracy Worldwide. From here on out, ProLiteracy has worked exceptionally hard to break the cycle of poverty, elevate workforce skills, and improve the overall quality of life through their advocacy programs, professional development opportunities, and instructional materials.

At ProLiteracy’s core, their values and mission drive everything they do:

  • Support 1000 member programs in the United States and 35 countries worldwide that provide adult literacy education
  • Advocate for awareness, funding, and support to increase access to educational resources for adults who want or need to improve their literacy.
  • Provide professional development to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of adult literacy programs.
  • Create and produce more than 400 customized print and digital instructional tools for tutors and students.

ProLiteracy believes that every adult has the right to literacy, stating their mission as “to help adults gain reading, writing, math, and digital skills, with the intent of giving them the power to impact major social issues and change the world around them.” In three words, Proliteracy empowers, educates, and connects, creating an extensive network of people who want an adult education, people who want to provide them with an education, and many global community partners invested in making the world a better place.

Past Project

Rich & Gardner first partnered with ProLiteracy Worldwide in 2012 when they were contracted to build ProLiteracy’s new headquarters. Located in the Near West Side neighborhood of Syracuse, ProLiteracy’s headquarters were leased from the Near Westside Initiative. The headquarters were built into an empty 100-year-old warehouse initially used as a factory in the 1900s. The local community was thrilled to have ProLiteracy Worldwide’s headquarters in their area, as it was believed to be a big step towards revitalizing the Near West Side.

King & King Architects and Koning Eizenberg Associates were tasked with designing the new space, while Rich & Gardner was responsible for the construction. The construction costs were covered entirely by the Near Westside Initiative, while ProLiteracy raised more than a million dollars to use towards the purchasing of new furniture, high-tech equipment, and local programming activities.

The headquarters were 20,000 square feet, featuring an open atrium design in the entry that included a two-floor library made up of books, educational displays, and interactive digital monitors. The design integrated ProLiteracy’s mission and values, ensuring that the space reflected its purpose as an educational and learning-positive environment. Additionally, the space incorporated various green elements into its construction and received a LEED certification.

Employing an open and modern industrial design, the headquarters featured green workstations, conference rooms developed to leverage the latest technologies, and glass-walled private offices – including that of the CEO, whose office was located in the center of the space. In its final design, most of the closed-off spaces applied glass walls to represent ProLiteracy’s values, which include openness, transparency, and innovation.

The collaboration between all of the project’s partners helped streamline the process, which produced a green space that ProLiteracy Worldwide was happy to occupy throughout their 10-year lease.

Current Project

Rich & Gardner have partnered with ProLiteracy Worldwide again as the construction team for their new headquarters, strengthening the partnership that began ten years prior.

Due to the increase in remote work, ProLiteracy no longer had a need for the large space their old headquarters occupied, leading them to choose a smaller space this time around. The new headquarters will be located in the Franklin Square historic district at 308 Maltbie Street, a state-of-the-art modern office building in which Proliteracy will occupy around 7000 square feet.

The building was redeveloped in 1991 to modernize it, resulting in a space that still captures the personality of the much older, original building. The latest renovations prior to ProLiteracy’s new headquarters renovations were in 2014, focusing solely on the building’s common area.

The construction of the new headquarters finished on October 7, 2022, and was nothing short of a success. Throughout the project, Rich & Gardner and ProLiteracy Worldwide worked closely to stay within the budget while creating the perfect space for ProLiteracy’s organization to grow and succeed.

A Meaningful Partnership

Considering there are currently 800 million adults worldwide who struggle with basic reading, writing, and math skills, with 43 million of those adults residing in the US alone, the programs and opportunities created by ProLiteracy are life-changing. ProLiteracy not only works with adults struggling with their literacy skills in the US but all over the world, making a real difference on a global scale.

Proliteracy places great emphasis on their partnerships, explaining their partners to be “organizations and individuals who share in our values by working to advance equity and opportunity through the power of literacy.” Their view on partnerships aligns with that of Rich & Gardner, as both collaborate with local community partners to make the world a better place, whether that be through literacy or construction.

Proliteracy’s core values speak for themselves, highlighting all of the value, collaboration, and expertise they bring to their partners all over the globe, which Rich & Gardner are lucky enough to be a part of. When it comes down to it, the partnership between Rich & Gardner and Proliteracy Worldwide has thrived for 10-years-and-counting, working together to transform a space into the ideal headquarters for a global organization focused on improving literacy.

It always feels good to build meaningful partnerships with organizations working to make a difference, and Proliteracy is making a difference locally, nationally, and internationally. The partnership between Proliteracy and Rich & Gardner is founded in loyalty and mutual trust, trusting one another to get the job done while working within a project’s specified parameters.

The 10-year gap between the two projects has made this most recent project even more exciting because Rich & Gardner got to see how Proliteracy has grown, developed, and matured since the last time they worked together directly. The changes between the 2012 and 2022 headquarters speak to both sides’ successes and increased expertise. It has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside Proliteracy as they continue to evolve and expand, watching them make a difference firsthand.

What’s Next?

With the headquarters construction complete, all that’s left to do is for Proliteracy Worldwide to move in and make the space their own! And while Proliteracy will remain one of Rich & Gardner’s outstanding partners, Proliteracy will have a busy few months of moving and settling into their new space. Rich & Gardner will shift focus to different upcoming projects. Rich & Gardner is grateful that another opportunity to construct Proliteracy’s headquarters arose after ten years, and the team looks forward to future partnerships and collaborations.

To become one of Rich & Gardner’s project partners or to determine if Rich & Gardner is the right fit for your next project, reach out to the team now. Because at Rich & Gardner, partnerships are mutually designed, developed, and constructed to last – even after the project concludes.

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