New community complex under way

New community complex under way

South county residents will have a community center rivaling the size of the Prince George Sports and Learning Complex in Landover when a new facility for recreation, education and job training opens in Fort Washington.

Construction began on the Southern Region Technology and Sports Complex after a Dec. 9 groundbreaking ceremony with state and county officials.

The $13 million building is scheduled to be completed in early 2011; the 36,000squarefoot facility will be built on 15 acres on Bock Road near Rosecroft Raceway. The site is being developed by TuckmanBarbee Construction Co. Inc. of Upper Marlboro.

The complex will include a technology wing where classes will be available in digital photography, robotics, video game design and audio recording, and fitness rooms, two gymnasiums and a rockclimbing wall will also be featured inside. The building will have an ecofriendly roof and a geothermal heating and cooling system and will be LEED Silver certified, meeting a national standard for environmental sustainability and energy conservation.

County officials said the complex has been on the books since the early 1980s, but everything from economic downturns to a lack of political representation advocating for the project in south county kept the complex from materializing. It wasn until 2006 that the MarylandNational Capital Park and Planning Commission got approval to start making plans and scouting locations for the project. Funding for the project came largely from MNCPPC and state bonds.

County officials are banking on the site to raise the profile of south county and give residents more recreation and education opportunities. Residents had long complained there were no comparable recreational facilities to the Sports and Learning Complex in the area.

are in the midst of something that so outstanding and remarkable, said County Councilman Tony Knotts DDist. 8 of Temple Hills during the ceremony. thought that the complex would not happen. Now we have something to show off. G. Lawlah, secretary of the Maryland Department of Aging and former state senator for the area, said that securing funding from the state for the project meant that it had to wait at the back of the line.

were outnumbered in terms of getting in line to get goodies, she said. are so few municipalities in south county, so you don have that organized leadership. Quarrick, the MNCPPC chief of park planning and development for the county, said residents in the community requested a large facility to offer many services and one that encompasses technology; classroom space with traditional features like multipurpose rooms, dance and aerobic space; and 21st century features like an Internet caf a major technology and recreational center, he said. don have anything like it in south county. Residents said they hope the facility would offer new opportunities to both young and old.

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