“Design Corps has always worked in small rural communities, and will continue to do so. The fellowship strengthened and reinforced its mission by continuing its work in small rural communities and helping to bring grant funds into low income regions... breaking ground on this building and bringing a surge of support through federal funding has been a significant success.”
It’s fair to say that the Marion Job-Training Center would not have been possible without Victoria Ballard Bell’s efforts during her Rose Fellowship. Her grant writing skills alone resulted in a combined $1,552,000 for the project. The grants, which came from HUD and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others, funded the center’s construction, engineering and site costs, as well as the Self-Help Housing Program. To top it off, she convinced the county board to donate an acre of land for this project.
Her contributions go well beyond funding. Working with host Design Corps, Victoria successfully navigated the project’s complicated political and architectural issues. As a result, the 3,000-square-foot structure will soon be home to a job training center, housing, local nonprofit Sowing Seeds of Hope and most importantly a new sense of possibilities for many in this Alabama town.
During her fellowship, Victoria also became a licensed architect and published Materials for Design with Princeton Architectural Press. The book is the culmination of a seven-year project on the critical relationship between design thought and construction. Victoria holds a Master of Architecture and a Master of Planning from the University of Virginia, and an undergraduate degree in finance and studio art from Virginia Tech. She continues her work in architecture at her own private practice, Ballard Bell Architecture, while still doing volunteer work for Design Corps.
Marion Job Training Center
1.20 acres gross site area
3,200 sq ft gross project area