When the Goodman Atwood Community Center re-opens on Tuesday at the old Kupfer Iron Works Building on Waubesa Street, visitors can expect to find a work in progress. But what a piece of work it is. For the first time in memory, all of the center's programs -- including the Lussier Teen Center and the New Loft -- will be reunited under one roof.
Walking through the main entrance from the parking lot, one is struck by the extent of the transformation of the old Kupfer building. Much of its old infrastructure remains in evidence, including exposed brick walls, exposed ductwork and beams, and some industrial features that have been spiffed up and retained as vestigial design elements. But the building as a whole has been utterly and fundamentally repurposed.
Separate rooms have been established for the center's high-school, middle-school and early-childhood programs -- the latter with kid-sized bathroom facilities and sinks. Above the entry way and lobby, there is a mezzanine. Down one hall, there is an impressive kitchen -- with walk-in freezers and other professional-grade fixtures -- and an adjacent cafe. Here is where the food pantry will operate. There is a room for adult and older-adult programs, a substantial community room that can accommodate weddings and other special events, a fitness center, and a gym big enough to accommodate several basketball games at once, plus a drop-down batting cage.
Outside the Lussier Teen Center, a couple of half-court outdoor hoops courts have been installed. A small skateboard park is in the talking stages. An outdoor playground will be established between now and the center's grand opening celebration on Sept. 27, and when it re-launches its programs on Tuesday after the move from its old location, it will have wireless Internet service. The future is now for the Goodman-Atwood Community Center.