“We’re excited … we’re ready to move in.” That’s the way Joe Turner feels about it. The director of the Houston Parks Department shared his enthusiasm on the construction progress of the Kingwood Community Center. Scheduled for a late summer opening, the 11,200-square-foot facility features two meeting rooms and one large 350-person-capacity space. The space can also be partitioned off into two smaller venues. Turner recently toured the site with Houston City Council Member Mike Sullivan. “This is a great opportunity for residents here,” Sullivan said. The contractor, Hassell Construction, broke ground on the project July 12, 2011, after receiving a $2,295,272 contract through the City of Houston in June. Both Sullivan and Turner said that this facility will be unique in the city’s center design. While other centers have an indoor gym, this space will be exclusively for meetings and other gatherings. Also, audio-visual equipment capabilities will be available throughout the rooms along with podiums, stages and other meeting staples. A kitchen will be available for food preparation and catered events. Another unique aspect is the aesthetic design, featuring a sloped ceiling and highly placed windows. Turner and other officials said they wanted to maintain the natural landscape so several of the large trees from the days of the old library location remain on site, with plans to connect walkways to a small park. In an effort to promote water sustainability, a large drainage path where collected rainwater will be stored to irrigate the lawns and landscaping is included. That, as well as a room temperature installation, will both be controlled from the department in Houston. Making the center uniquely Kingwood will be a volunteer firefighter display at the front entrance. The display will include helmets, patches, badges and other firefighter uniform accoutrements. “This will be a great way to recognize the community and its members,” Sullivan said. First photo: The Kingwood Community Center is expected to open in July, a year after breaking ground. Second photo: Construction crews are busy preparing the nearly 12,000 square-foot meeting facility that includes a 350-person capacity room.

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