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Shaping the Future of Ferguson

Ferguson Youth Initiative Teen Center
St. Louis, Missouri, USA

“HOK’s designers were excellent listeners and developed a strong understanding of how we envisioned using the space to advance our mission of helping young people in Ferguson. The depth of HOK’s commitment was impressive.”

Dwayne T. James
Board President, Ferguson Youth Initiative
City Councilman, Ferguson

The vibrant, colorful redesign of Ferguson Youth Initiative’s home base meets the organization’s needs for expanded educational and recreational teen programming.

The Ferguson Youth Initiative is a nonprofit agency that unites the city of Ferguson, Mo.’s teens, officials, residents and educators to find new ways to serve and engage young (aged 13-19) members of the community.

The organization is based in the former Ferguson Firehouse No. 1, next to Ferguson City Hall at 110 Church St., a two-story space that once housed fire equipment and personnel. As a donated space, the location was not equipped to meet the needs of a growing youth center. Concrete floors and exposed ceilings created acoustical problems, and the original structure lacked the flexibility needed to support various programs.

A team from HOK’s St. Louis office met with representatives from the Ferguson Youth Initiative and its teen advisory board, collaborating over several months to create a design for a renovated, inviting teen center. Over two weekends in October 2015, HOK volunteers worked alongside Ferguson teens and community members to build and fit out the space.

Updates to the building’s street presence and the interior reflect a new branded identity. A refreshed entrance, new building signage and other site improvements enhance the exterior.

Inside, painting the existing utilities and conduit bright, bold colors showcases the unique infrastructure. Newly installed flooring and furniture creates a more inviting space. Built elements respond to the Ferguson Youth Initiative’s program needs, including flexible-height desks, mobile slat walls, a performance stage, an event and communication board, art display walls and an interactive timeline. New LED lighting and acoustical ceiling treatments allow for optimal performance during youth programs. A new drop-in tutoring program serves up to 50 teens a week.

Community support for this project was overwhelming. In addition to HOK, 27 local and national organizations contributed materials, products and funding. 


2,550 sq. ft. / 236 sq. m.


Interior Design


Armstrong Flooring
Bentley Carpet
City of Ferguson
Express Scripts
Flooring Systems Inc. 
Golterman & Sabo
Guarantee Electrical
Herman Miller
JMC Wood Manufacturing
LANDCO Construction
Lawrence Fabric & Metal Structures
Lighting Associates Inc.
Negwer Materials
Painting & Decorating Foundation
Professional Office Environments
Saint Louis Lighting Group
Spectrum Lighting
StoneTree Fabrications Inc.
Summit Sign & Graphics
Tingle Flooring
TJ Wies Contracting


Hours donated


Teens served weekly in tutoring center


19 October 2015
“Ferguson Teen Outreach Center Gets a Facelift”
The St. Louis American

19 October 2015
“Designers Giving Nonprofits Free Makeovers”

18 October 2015
“HOK Volunteers Designing New Space fro Two Youth Organizations”
Construction Forum STL

17 October 2015
“Ferguson Youth Inititative Space Gets Make-Over Thanks to HOK”
Fox 2 TV

17 October 2015
“Ferguson Teen Outreach Center Gets a Facelift”
St. Louis Public Radio