In August, the Tower District of Fresno, Calif., will host a new office of the Pregnancy Care Center, rising between Planned Parenthood and Fresno City College just as students return to campus. With double its current space for serving clients with unexpected pregnancies, the center also plans to expand its new men’s program and enable its growing crew of volunteer advocates to be more effective.

“That’s really providential; we know that God has led us [to the Tower District],” executive director Kristi Burkhart said, from her present office on Clark Street in Fresno’s downtown area. “When we do our stats from here, the highest percentage of clients by zip code come from that area.”

The original center, then named Central Valley Crisis Pregnancy Center, opened its doors in 1984, only two blocks from its future home.

The founders “targeted the Tower District all those years ago because of the reputation,” Burkhart said. “It’s where the college kids are attracted. It’s also the hot spot of the Hippie lifestyle. It’s a magnet community for the Hipster culture, for the off-beat art culture, for the entire Fresno community.”

Pregnancy Care Center later moved downtown to lease its current building on Clark Street. Two years ago, however, their landlord agreed to sell the property to a growing hospital across the street.

That’s when they found an old office building standing virtually abandoned on the edge of the district. Homeless squatters had scrawled graffiti and poems of despair across its walls. Syringes and other human waste littered its rooms.

To purchase that building, gut it, and bring it up to California’s rigorous codes comes with a price tag of $1.5 million. That figure includes costs for the remodeling, asbestos abatement, two separate HVAC systems for the medical and non-medical areas, a computer-controlled energy efficiency system, new roofing, and the building’s first-ever sprinkler system.

Individuals, families, and foundations contributed far beyond Burkhart’s expectations. Since the Building Fund Campaign began in November 2016, “we’re at $600,000 in the bank, not pledges,” she said. “People aren’t pledging, they’re just giving.”

Full story at Pregnancy Help News.