Jefferson Park Neighborhood Center Improvements

Design matters - especially in public spaces. The built environment shapes our lives and impacts our well-being. While often overlooked, buildings have the capacity to influence us, even to encourage pro-social behavior, a hallmark of public spaces.

With the power of design in mind, staff moved forward with the renewal of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Center. Built in 1976, as a social equity investment in the Dearington neighborhood, the Center needed significant upgrades. Federal CDBG funds were secured to advance the project and during the fall of 2019, the simple cinder block building was transformed into a twenty-first-century community hub.

The Jefferson Park Center renewal project was completed in December 2019. The project was managed efficiently and infused the public facility with a renewed sense of value. After decades of use, the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Center had been in need of rehabilitation. Renovations had been scheduled, but continually deferred, due to competing demands on the capital improvement project budget. The deterioration of the center reflected adversely on the City's commitment to the neighborhood. To delay needed improvements would only have increased the cost of rehabilitation, so Parks and Recreation secured funding for the facility renewal project through the Federal Community Development Block Grant program, with resounding community support.

The project was managed by the Parks and Recreation Department with the support of Public Works and Community Development colleagues. Virginia A&E staff designed the project, infusing history, beauty, and purpose into the plan; Coleman-Adams Construction skillfully executed the design with attention to detail. The project budget was $202,418.

The 3,500-square-foot facility includes a large recreation room, a small classroom, a kitchen, bathrooms, and an office. To allow flexibility in facility use, the large open recreation room was designed to serve as either one large room for community gatherings, or as a series of interconnected spaces for small-group activities. The flexibility of the design matches the need for different facility uses.

By selecting materials and finishes that were altogether economical, durable, and easy to maintain, the project management team demonstrated good stewardship of public resources. Here is a categorical summary of improvements.

  • Flooring - Vinyl tile was removed. The underlying concrete base was polished and sealed, exposing natural rock fragments. Color and patterns were introduced in select areas to create pathways and divide the large open floor plan into rooms, creating an active space and a passive space.
  • Ceiling - Bulkhead was installed to softly define primary spaces and feature pool table areas. Wave-shaped elements are suspended from the ceiling along the main interior pathway.
  • Lighting - General LED lighting was incorporated throughout the facility. Accent lighting was installed in the fitness area. Bubble-shaped lighting clusters over the pool tables, reference the park history and were incorporated into the design.
  • Walls - Simple cinder block walls were painted; floor-to-ceiling message boards were built into the design - cork board and chalkboard; mirrors were positioned for movement classes and provided a place for dancing, and playing, while also amplifying natural light.
  • Windows - Warm wooden elements were arranged in horizontal framing around windows to draw attention to neighborhood views - park, playground, ball court, and colorful houses.
  • Kitchen - Stainless steel appliances, countertops, and open shelving were installed for the management of a clean, visual workplace.
  • Bathrooms - Stainless steel bathroom barriers and wall-mounted baby changing stations complemented a minimalist bathroom design, with a polished concrete floor finish.
  • Finishes - Warm wood elements were built in to create open shelving, computer lab space, and workstations.
  • Entryway - The entryway was designed to offer a clear view of the center options. There is information at hand, a glass-front community produce cooler close by, a place to store personal belongings, and floor/ceiling markers to determine your next steps.

The intentional design exhibits a strong connection between the center and the neighborhood and helps to create a pro-social space. By featuring views of the surrounding parkland with the neighborhood as a backdrop, the Center renewal project exemplifies neighborhood character. The Jefferson Park Neighborhood Center rehabilitation is a social equity investment that has enhanced and sustained programs, services, and park experiences for families in the Dearington neighborhood.

After Photos

Before Photos