CONCORD – A historic block in Concord has been transformed in 2011, and City officials hope the improvements will spur continued investment and development in the surrounding community. Several properties at the site of the former Logan High School along Booker Drive in Concord have received much-needed improvements funded by a combination of City dollars, federal grants, and private investment.
In May, the City completed substantial renovations at the sixty-year-old Logan Multi-Purpose Center
to improve its functionality, to enhance the experience of users, and to preserve the building’s status as a community asset for the future. The renovations were possible through $300,000 of City funding for the interior and $200,000 of EECBG stimulus funds
for the exterior. Since May, crews completed the remaining work in the gymnasium and exterior while the facility was re-opened to members of the community.
Significant improvements to the interior include a new front desk and office near the front door, which improves supervision and enhances participant safety. The open foyer is bright and inviting, providing easy communication with staff at the front desk and an attractive accent wall. All of the walls, old fixtures, and plumbing have been removed in the old showers, freeing the space to be used both for new restrooms, each with a shower, plus an additional room for the Center.
A wall was removed between the former Multi-Purpose Room and Arts and Crafts Room, creating a much-needed larger space that can hold 150 occupants. Moveable partition walls were installed to allow the space to be used as three separate rooms, now giving the Logan Multi-Purpose Center up to five activity rooms compared to the original two.
A major part of the project involved demolishing much of the interior including load-bearing walls. New steel framework was designed, built, and installed, allowing for a much more open interior. In addition, the renovated portions of the building have upgraded HVAC systems. New glass, paint, lighting, and fans in the gym have resulted in increased open-play and a significant amount of visitors.
The spaced used by the Cabarrus County Department of Aging’s
Lunch Plus Program was also enhanced, motivated by requests for a better kitchen and more storage for events and the program. Program representatives were advised of these renovations well in advance and made plans to provide lunches at a temporary site during the renovations. Since the program’s return to the Logan Multi-Purpose Center, Lunch Plus attendance has more than doubled.
The exterior has been updated as well with a focus to improve energy efficiency. All of the existing windows and doors on the have been replaced with energy-efficient glass, allowing the City to update the look of the exterior of the building, including a new color scheme. A prominent improvement is a new automatic accordion (bi-fold) door at the main entrance, which makes it much easier for seniors to enter and exit the building.
Outside, modernized pathways lead residents into or past the Center in a pleasing and safe manner, and the historic Logan High School monuments have been given a prominent location visible from Rone Avenue. A related City street improvement project on Booker Drive provides easier and safer vehicle and pedestrian access to the facility.
Younger and older patrons alike appreciate the historical display inside the building. Staff members regularly hear from younger customers who did not know about the history of the school, and the principals who shaped it and provided leadership.
“Improvements to Logan Multi-Purpose Center have inspired our customers to treat the building better,” said Bob Dowless, Parks and Recreation Director. “The facility stays cleaner, including the game room, television room, gym, rest rooms, and parking lot. It is clear the renovations have been positively received and bolstered the sense of community expressed by our customers.”
The Logan Multi-Purpose center offers several of the City’s signature recreation programs. Some of the highly-popular offerings to the community at the facility include Southwest Karate Academy, treat night, cross-court basketball, health-related programs in cooperation with Cabarrus Health Alliance (such as Diabetes prevention and management), billiards tournaments, adult day trips, youth basketball (regular season and tournaments), and the Vibe Tennis Program.
“This facility is very important to our community,” said Mayor Scott Padgett. “The City does not have many major capital projects right now due to the economy, but the City Council was dedicated to seeing this project through.”
Adjacent to the Multi-Purpose Center along the improved Booker Drive, other facilities are also contributing to the transformation of the Logan community. Perhaps the most dramatic is the Villas at Logan Gardens
, a new, 5 million-dollar, 44-unit private independent senior living facility.
Less obvious but equal in impact are improvements to the City-owned building leased to the Logan Child Development Center. The small brick building on Booker Drive has served the community in many ways. Originally serving as the cafeteria for the Logan School, and then the home of the Logan Day Care, it now serves the community as part of the Logan Child Development Center Campus.
“It was becoming difficult for us to continue to use the day care building for a classroom,” remarked Deborah Beatty, director of Logan Child Development Center. “The building was lacking insulation and very drafty. The doors and windows were close to wearing out, and required a lot of effort from our maintenance staff to keep them working properly. The heating and air conditioning equipment was not efficient, and the cost of operating the building was so much higher than our new building next door. We were close to losing points on our State inspections because of the condition of the building.”
Thanks to the funds made available from the City of Concord and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the building has been improved significantly. The day care building, like the Multi-Purpose Center, now has energy-efficient windows and doors. The new heating and air conditioning equipment, along with the improvements to the insulation, make the building much more comfortable and reduce energy costs.
Beatty also praised the new playground equipment and new awnings over the doors. “We can get in and out of the building without tracking so much water in during rainy days, and the awnings help keep the building cool in the summer and offer some shelter from the elements in the winter.”
Other changes to the building, including improved internet access, improved communication with the other buildings on the campus, new sidewalks and fences, and improved interior and exterior lighting all make the building operate more efficiently for the students.
“All of these improvements have made the building more efficient, but the biggest and most important impact has been the effect these improvements have on our staff and our students,” commented Beatty. “Everyone is proud of our renewed building. We look forward to continuing to use this building for many years to come.”
City officials and neighborhood leaders are optimistic these investments on Booker Street will lead to further investments within the Logan community. The City of Concord will continue building partnerships to develop a combination of affordable and market rate units. The Villas at Logan Gardens is a great example of high-quality private investment that can lead to future opportunities in Logan.