Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-being
A dynamic campus with spaces and resources that facilitate community and children’s mental and physical well-being.
45,000 SF | 4-acre urban site | 6,000 SF Greenhouse | 800 SF Farm stand | 1-acre Urban Farm
LEED Social Equity Pilot Credits
2016 Mayor’s Design Award
2016 ENR Mountain States Best Project for Health Care Award
2017 ULI Impact Award Finalist
2019 Community Impact Design Award, A4LE Rocky Mountain Chapter
Mental Health Center of Denver
The Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD) operates under the notion that strong communities are built on a foundation of mental and physical well-being. By strengthening the individual, family, and neighborhood support, community members and children flourish. The Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being focuses on improving overall well-being through healthy, fun, and educational services that allow children and adults to develop new skills, build on their strengths, and gain self-sufficiency. The Center provides a robust lineup of programs to support MHCD’s mission: preschool and day treatment classrooms, counseling spaces devoted to infants and caregivers mental health services, a children’s dentistry suite, deaf and hard of hearing services, parenting classes, a teaching kitchen to support cooking & nutrition classes, multipurpose space for physical education, and a community/training room.
The site provides outdoor play spaces, horticultural therapy gardens and a one-acre farm to introduce healthy foods to this urban food desert. Stormwater infrastructure takes the form of a curvilinear landscape feature running along the length of the building and terminating in a planted water quality pond configured with observation platforms. A figural entry porch and plaza establish a welcoming gesture for the community center, inviting neighbors to gather and engage in activities that will help them feel good and live well.
The planning process that informed the Dahlia Campus’s rich program offerings is a result of a three-year community engagement effort championed by the Child and Family Services for MHCD. While first encountering distrust from the community and social stigma around mental health, MHCD sought feedback from those previously discouraged from speaking out. Private discussions, public forums, and stakeholder advisory groups helped illuminate community needs while reducing stigma around mental health through a shared understanding that every community member deserves proper care, whether physical or mental. The realized campus is a bright, vibrant, inviting place that aligns with MHCD’s mission of forging resilience, hope and optimism.