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Ribbon cutting Saturday for Washington-Coleman Community Center

With work wrapping up on Phase II of the Washington-Coleman Community Center, a ribbon cutting ceremony has been set for Saturday morning at 10 a.m., South Boston Town Manager Ted Daniel announced Tuesday.


Prior to the ribbon cutting, Daniel will lead public tours of the facility beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Mayor Ed Owens will preside over the ribbon-cutting assisted by South Boston Town Council.

Special guest speaker will be Judge Frank Slayton.

A master plan for the community center project, which included three phases, was unveiled four years ago in June 2009.

Phase I construction included the renovation and upgrade of the pre-K section of the facility with secure fencing and separate off-street parking.

Phase II involved the renovation of the 1930-era and historic section of the old school into a year-round community center facility for exclusive use by the town’s parks and recreation department.

Phase III, which remains to be complete, is the construction of a new, modern gymnasium to accommodate the overload of indoor recreation demand currently experienced at the South Boston Recreation Center on Broad Street.

When construction talks began on the Washington-Coleman Community Center project, Daniel urged council to consider the long-term benefits to town citizens of all ages in evaluating the affordability of the project.

Daniel’s focus for the project has been to keep the historic Washington-Coleman building as original as possible while making the changes.

The newly constructed community center is designed to provide a safe environment for citizens to engage in leisure activities such as arts and crafts as well as senior citizen activity groups and includes a classroom and activity center to enhance the effectiveness of the Mentor-Role Model Program.

Museum exhibits celebrating the history of Booker T. Washington High School, M. H. Coleman Grammar School, Washington-Coleman Elementary School and the Civil Rights in Education Trail are also planned for the center.

A fully-equipped computer lab/library room at the center will be available to the general public also as part of the project. However, the computers have yet to be installed, Daniel said.

When completed, the computer lab/library will feature individual personal computer workstations affording residents access to the Internet and computer applications for personal business.  

Extensive broadband access throughout the community center will provide WiFi access and Internet access for computer-based games and educational programs.

The town is slated to obtain a certificate of occupancy for the community center on Thursday.

“I know we have been delayed in getting it open, but we had to do some fine tuning before we could open it. Now we’re ready,” Daniel said.

Cutting the ribbon on the community center will be one of the 69-year-old town manager’s final achievements in his position.

He announced earlier this year he plans to retire at the end of the year.

He invites the public to attend the ribbon cutting and celebrate the grand opening of the town’s new community center.

The Washington Coleman Community Center is located at 1927 Jeffress Blvd. in South Boston.