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Chatham Grove Elementary to Include County’s First Joint-Use Recreation Center

Post Date:11/27/2018 1:15 PM
The Chatham County Parks & Recreation Department and Chatham County Schools will share space in Chatham County’s first joint-use recreation center at the forthcoming Chatham Grove Elementary School. Chatham Grove is on track to open in August 2020 at 1301 Andrews Store Road, off Parker Herndon Road.

“The joint-use aspect of the project is as practical as it is pioneering,” said Parks & Recreation Director Tracy Burnett. “Maximizing school facilities and having them serve as centers for the community avoids costly duplication of facilities and structures. It allows underused schools to be used many more hours per day and year. When students are not using Chatham Grove Elementary, the shared space would be open for recreation and community events.”

Burnett added, “This will be the county’s first community recreation center, which is a good start in meeting the backlog of needs for indoor facilities. We are so thankful that the Chatham County Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. Derrick D. Jordan and other staff in the school system were willing to partner in this way.”

The shared space will include a gymnasium with a full-sized basketball court. The gym will be separate from the school and will house two rooms for meetings or activities, offices, a lobby, restrooms and a kitchen. This setup allows Parks & Recreation to provide community programming when the school is closed for students.

According to Burnett, joint-use arrangements between local governments and school systems are not uncommon, but the schools have priority for usage.

“As part of our research, staff from our office and Chatham County Schools toured Cumberland County school facilities that double as community recreation centers. This helped us work together to develop a plan that we felt would work best for both school and recreation participants,” Burnett said.

On October 9, 2017, the Chatham County Board of Education agreed to pursue the school design that included a section for shared space. Staff from both county government and the school system will develop a plan that guides day-to-day operations of the facility.

“We hope this concept will lead to more shared-use community recreation centers and other facilities with the schools and other entities throughout the county. We also hope to have some of our own freestanding centers down the road,” Burnett said.

The progress of construction for not only Chatham Grove Elementary but also Seaforth High School is at www.chatham.k12.nc.us/Page/21979.
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