Located in the Southside neighborhood of Asheville, North Carolina, the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Community Center Expansion upgrades a vital community resource with new facilities, such as an indoor basketball gym, multi-use programming space, an outdoor basketball court, and an outdoor pool. Working closely with the City of Asheville’s Parks and Recreation, Clark Nexsen built upon the existing center to enhance programming, expand recreational and wellness opportunities, and make a strong commitment to sustainability.
Named after Rev. Dr. Wesley Grant, Sr., a prominent leader in Asheville’s African American community, the new expansion was designed with community input. An essential need was a new outdoor pool to replace the nearby segregation-era facility that had served the historically Black neighborhood for over 80 years. The new community pool allows people of all ages to have swimming opportunities, with the design including a toddler play area and zero entry. A lounge deck, picnic area, restrooms, and changing rooms ensure the space can be used by families and for programming and events. The center extension also provides additional outdoor enhancements, such as an outdoor basketball court, rain gardens, and access to the future greenway that will be constructed along the facility. Indoors, a multi-purpose gym and community rooms will provide members with new engagement and wellness opportunities.
Named after Rev. Dr. Wesley Grant, Sr., a prominent leader in Asheville’s African American community, the new expansion was designed with community input. An essential need was a new outdoor pool to replace the nearby segregation-era facility that had served the historically Black neighborhood for over 80 years.
The original building was the first facility constructed by the city of Asheville to be LEED Platinum, and the community wanted to continue to place sustainability front and center. The large gym roof was oriented for optimal conditions for the photovoltaic array that is designed to generate up to 60 percent of the total building’s energy use. A new, redesigned public entrance area connects spaces for community activity with sustainable stormwater landscaping through planted bioswales. Materials were chosen to minimize embodied carbon impacts, such as through the conscious use of wood and exposed concrete floors, and through material reuse of existing buildings and site components. All spaces are designed to have natural light and views. An aluminum sunshade at the south-facing glazing of the gym provides a dynamic design that also helps lowers energy usage and reduce glare while communicating openness and connection to the neighborhood.
The Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Community Center Expansion exemplifies how to create a space that meets the community’s needs. The expansion provides long-overdue facilities for recreation, education, wellness, and community events while remaining committed to sustainability. By working closely with the local community and the city of Asheville, Clark Nexsen delivered a refreshed community center that will be a hub of activity, wellness, and learning for years to come.