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The Healthy Achievements of Emeryville Center of Community Life

Emeryville Center of Community Life (ECCL) consolidates Emeryville California's schools with community and family services, arts and recreation into one site, one locus of vision for a healthier community. It is a place of synergies and rich community connections, the kind that make communities vibrant, connected and healthy.

Here the community welcome center and senior lounge, at times hosts community events, weddings and banquets. The family wellness center is paired with a school-based health and dental clinic. The library serves the school and the community equally. The community commons is a school recreation ground and a community event space during non-school hours. The school cafeteria converts into community-accessible event/performance space. Community kitchen facilities serve the school, but are also a place for classes on healthy cooking and evening event preparation. Vocational, job training and community college class spaces share a site with K-12 educational spaces. Recreation facilities including athletic fields, a dance studio, swimming pool and a fitness center are used by all.

How did such dynamism come about?

MKThink facilitated a rigorous public engagement process that led to the recognition that sharing one site would be most beneficial for the school district and the community: socially and economically. How the consolidation would bring all the disparate programs together formulated over a continued engagement process that set the vision and guiding principles of community life in Emeryville. The principles centered on five key factors:

  1. Partnerships

  2. Community engagement

  3. Wellness

  4. Sustainability

  5. Equity

Key to seeing the vision of community life realized were:

  • An engagement process that built and enhanced relationships to achieve goal clarity and alignment across stakeholders

  • A schedule design that maximized the use of space beyond traditional operating hours, creating true multi-use facilities

  • The establishment of the joint-use partnership between the city and the school district, a pioneering move.

The project captures the kind of multi-sector collaboration for community well-being that is applauded by public health officials and those who recognize the importance of building a culture of health.

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