Carroll Joyner Park is a beloved community asset in Wake Forest. Featuring walking trails, historic structures, and an outdoor amphitheater, it is a popular location for recreation and events. As part of phase two of the park master plan, the Wake Forest Parks, Recreation, & Cultural Resources Department partnered with Clark Nexsen to design the new Joyner Park Community Center. With robust athletic programs, one of the town’s key objectives for this project is to create more gymnasium space and provide a new resource for the community.

Offering indoor recreation and gathering space, the facility will include a gymnasium, indoor track, lobby and reception space, a large multipurpose room, a dance studio, teaching kitchen, locker rooms, and new office space for the PRCR Department. To align with the park’s rural context and historic buildings, the design is a modern interpretation of a rustic aesthetic with a stone base, wood-style cement cladding, glass storefront, and a metal roof. A “front porch” links the facility with the park’s greenway system and overlooks the meadow, reinforcing indoor/outdoor connectivity. A new, natural play area and public plazas offer engaging outdoor space for children and adults alike.

Inside, an open lobby, exposed structure, and warm wood tones greet visitors. Leveraging box elements as design inspiration, wayfinding is simplified with ready access to the full-size basketball court, volleyball, and pickleball courts on the first floor. The second floor houses the elevated track, offices, and other fitness spaces, while the multipurpose room and teaching kitchen provide a new indoor reception space for weddings and other events held in the park’s amphitheater.

The facility sets the stage for future athletic fields and is being designed to easily accommodate expansion such as additional gymnasiums. Increased parking and a new entrance and exit will allow better traffic access and flow as the facility hosts a growing number of events. This project also integrates public art through the creation of a stage cover for the existing amphitheater.