The heart of Olde Hampton will beat again with construction of the new Mary W. Jackson Neighborhood Center. The City of Hampton has earmarked $4 million for the project, and preliminary plans have been approved by the City and the Peninsula Community Foundation and a citizen steering committee. Final designs by Work Program Architects are expected by June, with construction beginning in September and completion in 2021.The new 12,500-square-foot building will include multi-purpose and meeting spaces, a catering kitchen, an indoor basketball court, activity rooms for classes, a small fitness center and a front porch. The program not only accommodates youth, but will also cater to a growing aging population. To conserve costs, an industrial metal building system will be used for the primary structure. It will be contemporary, fresh and exciting. At a later date, Hampton’s Parks & Recreation Department will complete an exterior program to include a soccer field, basketball court, tennis courts and playground. There also will be space for a future community garden.
The center replaces one demolished in 2015 because of its severe state of deterioration. The anticipated replacement was re-christened the Mary Jackson Neighborhood Center in 2018. Mary W. Jackson, the first African-American engineer and mathematician to work at NASA, was a product of the neighborhood and was active with youth there, creating a science club to engage them.
The community center project resets community expectations and creates a new vision for Olde Hampton.