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The Ridge Road Community Center replaces a dilapidated facility dating to the 1950’s with a new neighborhood center providing critical health and wellness programs to the underserved population of Washington, DC’s Ward 7. Several acres of land with athletic fields, an outdoor public pool, basketball courts, a wooded nature area, and two small buildings previously served the recreational needs of hundreds of users. However well loved, portions of these facilities were out-of-date and required immediate improvement and replacement. In 2012, the District of Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of General Services initiated efforts to bring a new LEED certified facility and extend a welcoming hand to a broad cross-section of community stakeholders.
CGS Architects was commissioned to collaborate with District agencies and neighborhood stakeholders to design and administer construction on a new community recreation facility with extensive site redevelopment. Through active engagement and research of modern recreation facilities, CGS Architects refined the program of spaces to be accommodated within a new building serving both athletic and community functions for facility users. Specifically, a multi-purpose room for classes, meetings, and community functions; a full-size indoor basketball court with alternative striping and embeds for half-court practice play and volleyball; fitness rooms; and spaces tailored to serve teens and seniors were included. The Center has quickly become a valuable asset to its surrounding community, thriving as a hub of activity for youth, families, senior citizens, and civic organizations. It has had a stabilizing effect on the lives of neighborhood youth by providing safe and appropriately equipped spaces for physical activities that instill discipline, healthy exercise habits, and teamwork. Moreover, it has become an inclusive environment where after school programs provide a refuge for at-risk adolescents, ensuring they have a healthy outlet for their creativity and energy as an important step towards long-term neighborhood improvement.