Frank Gehry’s New Landmark Building For Children’s Institute Breaks Ground In Watts

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CII Watts

LOS ANGELES January 30, 2020 – Children’s Institute (CII), the social impact organization dedicated to transforming the lives of children exposed to adversity and poverty in Los Angeles, announced that the groundbreaking ceremony for their new Watts campus took place on Thursday, January 30 at 11am.

Designed pro bono by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the ceremony celebrates the beginning of construction on the $20 million project at the corner of E. 102nd Street and Success Avenue in Watts.

“The new campus is a permanent commitment to Watts and a critical resource for children and families. We are thrilled to break ground and invest in the future of this extraordinary community,” said Martine Singer, President & CEO, Children’s Institute.

“It is our intent that the building will be comforting and welcoming. I hope this building will serve and inspire children and families for generations to come,” said Frank Gehry, architect.

Children’s Institute’s new campus will house therapeutic programs and a variety of free supports for children and families, including individual and group counseling, parenting workshops and Project Fatherhood sessions. The building will also be home to the Watts Gang Task Force, which has brokered peace in the community for nearly 15 years, along with the LAPD Community Safety Partnership, a nationally-recognized model for relationship-based policing.

Construction on the 20,000 square foot campus is expected until the third quarter of 2021. Oltmans Construction Co. is the General Contractor on the project.

At the ceremony, an invited audience of 300 guests heard from architect Frank Gehry; Martine Singer, President & CEO of Children’s Institute; Bridget Gless Keller, Children’s Institute Trustee and Building Committee Chair; Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas; Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer; Los Angeles Councilmember Joe Buscaino; Captain Emada Tingirides, LAPD and Children’s Institute Trustee; and Donny Joubert, Vice President of the Watts Gang Task Force. Representatives from the offices of Senator Holly Mitchell and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti presented certificates.

In addition to private donations, Children’s Institute partnered with the Los Angeles Development Fund, Genesis LA and Wells Fargo to secure New Markets Tax Credit funding for the project. Established in 2000, the New Markets Tax Credit program generates investment and economic growth in low-income communities across the country.  


Children’s Institute (CII), founded in 1906, is the largest agency of its kind working to transform the lives of children exposed to adversity and poverty in Los Angeles. By providing early education, behavioral health and family strengthening services, CII reaches 26,000 children and families annually in communities where support is needed the most. Learn more at

Oltmans Construction Co., founded in 1932 and now a subsidiary of Oltmans Companies, is a national, full-service general contracting company that specializes in new commercial and industrial construction, as well as renovation, solar, infrastructure, healthcare, and education projects. The company has constructed countless notable structures throughout its history, including such industrial landmarks as the Goodman Commerce Center in Eastvale, CA—a 200-acre mixed-use business development.

Oltmans is an LABJ Top 100 company and an ENR Top 400 contractor. The company holds licenses in the states of California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico, and has offices in Whittier, CA (headquarters), Thousand Oaks, CA, and Modesto, CA.