Scotland community recreation center reopens


Pablo Roa

The newly renovated recreation center offers Scotland residents a variety of activities including a community room, a computer room and a full-size basketball court.

By Katie Gauch and Hannah Yasharoff

Three years void of a recreational area, the Scotland community will re-open its community center, now dedicated as the Bette Carol Thompson Neighborhood Recreation Center, to the public this month.

“The first-class renovation project completed by our Department of General Services greatly improves the Center,” county Recreation Department Director Gabriel Albornoz said in a November statement.  “The design offers greater opportunities to expand programming and continue building successful community partnerships that will benefit our residents.”

According to the project’s funding and expenditure schedule, renovation plans were scheduled after the Montgomery County Recreation Department (MCRD) assessed the facility in 2005, formulating an agreement with the Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT) to start construction in 2012 and to allocate a $6.5 million to the project.  The old community center had unhealthy levels of rust, structural deterioration and an undersized gym, causing it to be inoperable for community members.

Before renovation took place, many of the community members did not have a functional place to gather; however, the renovations will provide community members the needed updates for a safer and useful site.

“It is really going to help the kids,” senior Oumar Soumah said.  “The kids really had nothing to do for three or four years because they knocked down the center.”

The Thompson Center, spanning almost 13,000 square feet is now twice the size of the old site, which was 40 years old at the time.  The site is named after Thompson, a Scotland resident, who has committed herself to the renovation of rundown houses since 1960.

According to the Montgomery County Division of Building Design and Construction, the recreational site will comply with the Montgomery County standards to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and energy guidelines mapped out in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) to receive LEED Silver certification.

Updates to the recreational center includes new sports features, such as a larger gym, a pool table, and a recreational-sized basketball court for kids to use.  The center also includes a computer room, classrooms, and a community room with a warming kitchen.

“I really like the basketball court,” Soumah said.  “Before, the basketball court wasn’t the actual size of the court, but now it’s bigger with actual lines.  It’s just better.”