A building that was once used for exercising, housing, and classes for girls and women is now home to a collection of artistic, cultural and environmental organizations that serve a broad spectrum of the population in Southern Arizona and beyond.

The Historic Y of Tucson was designed by a female architect decades ago and completed in 1930. An expansion followed later, with a conversion to offices in the '80s.

Now, the historic building north of downtown Tucson houses a plethora of organizations to include theater and dance, environmental groups and even U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva's office in Tucson.

More with Kegan Tom and Shawn Burke

Shawn Burke, the owner of the Historic Y, is himself an architect who sees the value in preserving these type older structures.

And fellow architect Kegan Tom agreed.

She works for her family's business, but she's also a board member of the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, which works to preserve many of the Old Pueblo's unique construction projects.

"I really feel that it's important to save historic buildings in our town," Tom said. "They bring a lot of culture, they bring economic development and they're really something that you can't bring back once they are taken down."

More on discussion with Demion Clinco

Demion Clinco, president of the foundation's board, said the environmental benefits include saving tangible resources, such as wood and glass, and reducing the energy that it takes to knock down a building and bring in all the new materials that would be required to begin from scratch.

"In most cases if you adaptively reuse and save a building, you're looking at a 10-to-80-year energy savings over building something new because of the energy that would be lost versus trying to adaptively retrofit it," he said.