Historic Second Ward Gymnasium Renovation
This historic high school gymnasium is a project for the books. Working closely with the alumni of Second Ward High School, which was the first African-American High School in Charlotte, our design team was able to capture the importance of what this school stood for. In the fall of 1923, Second Ward High School opened, and it wasn’t until 1949 when the construction of the gymnasium was complete. The school was closed in 1969 and unfortunately was torn down. The gymnasium is the sole remaining element of the school that is still standing, marking its spot on the Historic Preservation list. Modernist architect Arthur Gould O’Dell designed Second Ward gymnasium, which served as a beacon for its students. Sock hops, basketball games, and Homecomings filled this gymnasium with spirited students and supportive fans. Our mission was to restore that pride and give the Second Ward Alumni Association and the community a place to host events such as tournaments, exercise classes, and reunions.
Located adjacent to the Aquatic Center, this new facility will be run by Mecklenburg County Parks and Rec. The Second Ward Alumni Association along with Mecklenburg County Parks and Rec will each have their own office spaces. New finishes will be applied throughout the entire building, giving the lobbies a clean linear look, which nodes back to the modernist approach of the original construction. The now air conditioned gymnasium will brighten up with new storefront windows and a mural to capture the spirit and remembrance of Second Ward High School. Lastly, a small addition will house brand new restrooms. The construction of this renovation is hoping to be complete in time for the Second Ward class of ’67 to host their 50th high school reunion this coming fall.
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