Manassas, Va. (July 19, 2021) – Didlake Inc., a nonprofit that connects people with disabilities to employment and community engagement opportunities throughout the National Capital region, recently demolished its longtime headquarters building at 8621 Breeden Avenue in Manassas. The building, which was constructed in 1988, initially housed a 6,000 sq. ft. sheltered workshop and 6,000 sq. ft. of office space for administrative and program support staff. The June 1 demolition marked the end of an era for Didlake and made room for a new 44,000 sq. ft. three-story consolidated headquarters.
“It was a different environment for people with disabilities when we built that headquarters. At that time, many families wanted their children to work in a sheltered workshop. Today, there are thousands of opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in the community. Our society recognizes the value that people with disabilities bring to the workforce and to their community, and people with disabilities are presented with a large number of choices for employment and integration. For example, our Day Support program has helped program participants volunteer at a variety of nonprofit organizations in their communities. Last year, this accounted for over 25,000 hours of volunteer time. These opportunities weren’t available in the late 80’s,” said Donna Hollis, Didlake CEO. “It’s time to move into the future, and build a headquarters that is a better reflection of the needs of our program participants and the opportunities available in the community.”
The expansion will allow Didlake to consolidate its Northern Virginia team members in the new building and adjacent office at 8641 Breeden Avenue, Didlake’s current headquarters. The new headquarters campus will also be home to an expanded Day Support Program. Didlake will continue to operate administrative offices in Baltimore, Md. and Greater Hampton Roads, Va.
Didlake moved out of 8621 Breeden about eight years ago and used the building as a storage facility while preparing for the demolition and rebuild. For the last several weeks leading up to demolition day, Manassas Fire and Rescue used 8621 Breeden Avenue to conduct hands-on, real-world simulation training with its rescue crew. Last year, in response to COVID-19, ACTION in Community Through Service (ACTS) of Prince William County moved into the building for several months to quickly mobilize volunteers of its Prince William Food Rescue program to pack meals for people in need.
Construction of the new building will begin immediately and is expected to be completed in 2022. Didlake selected Mike Garcia Construction, a local, family-owned and operated company, for the project.
With concrete construction and quality materials, the new building will be what the construction company refers to as a “100-year building” that is designed based on strength, durability and safety. With composite walls and a functional design that allows for flexibility in rearranging floorplans in the future, Didlake anticipates the new building will meet its needs for many years to come. The building will have sustainable features such as locally sourced materials, recycled materials and very high insulation values. The HVAC system will include bipolar ionization, which purifies the air as it is circulated and protects against many airborne allergens and viruses. Touchless devices in restrooms will also help reduce the spread of germs.
In addition to the main 44,000 sq. ft. building, Mike Garcia Construction will also build a 15,000 sq. ft. support services building for Didlake.
Both buildings will sit on Didlake’s 4.9-acre lot, which is composed of three parcels of land. One parcel of land, east of 8621 Breeden, was donated to Didlake in 2015 by the I.J. and Hilda M. Breeden Foundation, which has a long history of commitment to the Manassas community and to Didlake’s mission of enriching the lives of people with disabilities. The foundation also established Didlake’s original presence on Breeden Avenue by donating the land at 8621 in 1984. In 2018, Didlake purchased the land that remained between its property and the Best Western. The purchase of the property included an in-kind donation from a family in Manassas.
“We have a longstanding history in the City of Manassas and look forward to being a part of Manassas for many years to come in our new consolidated headquarters campus that will give us more capacity to serve people with disabilities in Prince William County and surrounding areas,” said Erika Spalding, Vice President of Corporate Communications and Marketing, Didlake
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Didlake is a non-profit rehabilitative services organization headquartered in Manassas, Virginia. It was founded in 1965 to create opportunities for people with disabilities through services that connect them to employment, education and the community. Through its Day Support, Employment Services, and Workforce Support and Development program, Didlake serves over 2,000 people with disabilities annually throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Didlake is licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia, accredited by CARF, is CIMS-GB-certified, and proudly serves the nation through the AbilityOne® program. For more information, visit www.didlake.org.