New Community Center Opens in South Boston

South Boston, VA - For some South Boston natives, Saturday was a day of celebration.

The town of South Boston had the ribbon cutting of the brand new Washington-Coleman Community Center. The building was formerly known as the historically black Booker T. Washington High School.

Some of the school's alumni were there and said they're excited about the building's transformation.

South Boston officials said they've reached a major milestone with the completion of a brand new community center.

"I've seen a need for a place like this where the citizens of all ages can come together," said town manager Ted Daniel.

The center offers a huge space for indoor community activities, sports and banquets, but it's more than just a new gathering place.

"This is an extremely historic building and this building has always been very important to the greater portion of South Boston," said Daniel.

Back in 1930, the building was Booker T. Washington High School.

"It was just like one big happy family, the teachers and the students and our parents all intermingled," said former student Lydia Faulkner.

In 1948, after consolidation of all black high schools in South Boston, the building became Washington Coleman Elementary School.

Then five years ago, after another consolidation, when South Boston took ownership of the school. The town still kept the early learning center running, but decided to renovate the whole building.

"I'm extremely proud of the fact that we were able to save it because it can't be duplicated. These people love this building," Daniel said.

The school's former students say they're glad to be able to see their historic treasure restored and transformed into something everyone in South Boston can enjoy.

"It brought tears," said Faulkner.

"It really is like a miracle, and it's so beautiful, and then state of the art," said former student Odell Thompson.

Officials said this project was $2.2 million. They still have one last phase of the renovation, and that will be a new indoor gym.

The center will open for business in the next two weeks