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Washington-Coleman Community Center ribbon cutting to be held this Saturday / September 26, 2013
A ribbon cutting ceremony for the Washington-Coleman Community Center is scheduled for Saturday, at 10 a.m.

Both the Early Learning Center and the Community Center will be open for the public to view starting at 9 a.m.

South Boston Mayor Ed Owens will preside over the ribbon cutting assisted by members of the Town Council. Special guest speaker will be Judge Frank Slayton.

“I am so excited about this opening,” said South Boston Town Manager Ted Daniel yesterday. “It’s been a long time coming.

“We first held our community committee meetings to plan for this back in 2008. We had hoped to have the facility opened earlier this summer, but it’s just taken longer than we had expected.”

Daniel was quick to point to the hard work carried out by members of the Community Committee, starting back with Laurietta Faulkner, who at that time headed the local Mentor Role Model Program. “She was very anxious to be a part of the plan, and Joe Griles and Valdivia Marshall with the school system were very instrumental in helping with the plans,” he said.

He also remembered that Tom Shepherd had been a citizen member of the committee along with Town Councilman Morris Bryant, and Odell Thompson had been part of the group researching the old school’s history.

“That group worked hard and helped to define what we wanted to do with the building,” Daniel said.

The first phase focused on renovating space for the Early Learning Center where over a hundred four year olds meet during the school day and then the Community Center was the focus of Phase II.

The guest speaker for Saturday’s opening will be retired Judge Frank Slayton. “He was on the town’s school board for a number of years,” Daniel said, “and we wanted him to be a special part of this event. He has offered a lot of memories and advice as we undertook the project.”

While final finishing touches still remain to be completed, Daniel is especially excited about the classroom in which much of the past history of the school is told in old pictures and articles. Mrs. Thompson, who attended school there in the 1940’s along with Linda Faulkner and Mrs. Pat Jennings, have worked hard in gathering materials for the history room, Daniel said.

He is especially happy that the Mentor Role Model Program will call the place home, and he says it won’t take long for the place to become the center of activity.

“This is going to be great for the community and we will soon be deciding what furnishings and equipment we will need to complete our plans for the center.”

He expects to see it used for banquets as well as offering public access to internet and computer services.

The project was funded by a $2.2 million bond issue approved by Town Council which is being financed over a 20 year period.

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