Len and Harriet Schleifer

Chapel Haven Schleifer Center, Inc. residents, families and community leaders gathered on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, to celebrate the most extensive campus expansion in the organization’s 46-year history.

The festive event included:

A ceremony and tours to celebrate the grand opening of the new residential and classroom building housing Chapel Haven’s REACH program, which helps adults with cognitive and social disabilities learn to live independently.

A groundbreaking to herald the start of the Schleifer Adult Independent Living (SAIL) facility, a state-of-the-art intergenerational residential, community and engagement facility which is designed for residents to age in place in a vibrant and non-institutional setting.

An announcement that Chapel Haven will officially be renamed the Chapel Haven Schleifer Center.

Chapel Haven was joined by a distinguished list of guests, including:

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp

  • New Haven Mayor Toni Harp
  • Connecticut State Comptroller Kevin Lembo
  • Connecticut State Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney
  • Chapel Haven parents and benefactors Harriet & Len Schleifer
  • Chapel Haven President Michael Storz and Board Chair Peggy Baker
  • Several hundred Chapel Haven families and friends

 Phase 1 of Chapel Haven’s expansion is now complete and features:

A new, 32,500-square-foot residential and classroom building to house Chapel Haven’s REACH program, which for 46 years has helped adults with cognitive and social disabilities learn to live independently. The new building features spacious new apartments, state-of-the-art classrooms, a student lounge and a teaching apartment where day students can benefit from the life skills curriculum.

New REACH residential and classroom campus

A new outdoor courtyard, dubbed the “outdoor living room” by Chapel Haven’s design/build team, the S/L/A/M Collaborative.

A new Welcome Center, punctuated by a curved glass lobby and reception space that immediately draws you in from the outdoor “living room.” A stone hearth and built-in seating provide a warm welcome to families, while a gallery for showcasing resident artwork connects to a new multi-media presentation room.

Phase 2, which Chapel Haven is breaking ground on:

The Schleifer Adult Independent Living (SAIL) facility, a state-of-the-art, four-story 46,000 square foot residential, community and engagement facility which is designed for residents to age in place.

New Schleifer Adult Independent Living facility – rendering

The new building will be universal in design and layout, and will be intergenerational, where adults with disabilities can flourish into their senior years in a vibrant and non-institutional setting.

The facility will feature first floor community-based spaces such as fitness rooms, a wellness café, engagement, administrative offices, and a lounge. Upper floors will include one and two-bedroom apartments with centrally-located communal kitchens, gathering spaces and terraces.

Harriet Schleifer with rendering of new Schleifer Adult Independent Living Center

The SAIL facility was made possible by a $16 million gift to Chapel Haven by The Schleifer Family Foundation, which is helmed by Regeneron founder and CEO Len Schleifer and advocate Harriet Schleifer. The Schleifers have a personal connection to Chapel Haven, where their son is in residence.

We made our gift, and we are asking that other donors join with us in raising the remaining $5 million, because Chapel Haven is a family, a community and a place to call home. We know that the success of our adults lies in the relationships they build together as a beloved community. Our adults support each other and share in the triumphs, the challenges and the laughter – and that is something we believe in deeply.”

Tuesday also included an announcement that Chapel Haven will officially be renamed Chapel Haven Schleifer Center, Inc.. Stay tuned for a new logo and tagline celebrating Chapel Haven Schleifer Center Inc.’s new official name!

Harriet noted, “The Schleifer Family Foundation hopes that additional opportunities and new families will be introduced to Chapel Haven through our endorsement. The upgraded and expanded facilities are part of an overall strategic plan to better serve our adults as well as to help Chapel Haven stay competitive with other programs, securing our ongoing fiscal sustainability. This will also allow us to serve our aging adults into the future.”

Chapel Haven’s campus expansion is being designed by the S/L/A/M Collaborative and built by S/L/A/M Construction Services. The owner’s representative on the project is Leland Torrence.

“We are literally transforming our ability to serve adults into their senior years, in a vibrant and non-institutional setting,” said Chapel Haven President Michael Storz. “I couldn’t be prouder of all that has been accomplished to date. We could not have gotten this far without the generous support of our donors, our families and the city and state leaders who continue to champion our cause.”

Peggy Baker

“As Chapel Haven parents, knowing that the intergenerational new facility is breaking ground brings peace of mind for our entire family,” said parent Peggy Baker. “Our son, Matt, will be able to stay at Chapel Haven and enjoy a happy and productive life in a community he calls home.”

Dr. Fred Volkmar, Irving B. Harris Professor at the Yale Child Study Center, said the expansion is needed.

“With earlier detection and treatment, many individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders are doing better overall, but often need continued support as they enter adulthood,” Dr. Volkmar said. “Chapel Haven has been a leader is providing such support to students interested in going on to college and adult independence.  It is one of the few programs around the country to offer comprehensive support for individuals and their families.”

The event drew extensive media coverage.

New Haven Independent

New Haven Register

Hartford Courant

News Channel 8

Founded in 1972 in a house on Chapel Street, New Haven, CT, Chapel Haven is a nationally accredited transitional living program and approved private special education school with a mission of teaching adults with cognitive disabilities and social disabilities to live independent and productive lives. Chapel Haven has grown to serve more than 250 adults (18 years of age and older) in the residence and the community with three distinct programs; REACH, Asperger’s Syndrome Adult Transition (ASAT), and Chapel Haven West (Tucson, AZ). Read more at www.chapelhaven.org.