In photos: Stephens-Lee Recreation Center reopening

The Stephens-Lee Recreation Center reopened on Saturday, June 6, after five months of renovations. Photo by Sarah Whelan

The Stephens-Lee Recreation Center reopened on Saturday, June 6, after five months of renovations. A crowd gathered for a ribbon cutting and a tour of the new facility. The tour showcased the work that was put into the building, including newly painted walls, new furniture and a nearly completed renovation of the gymnasium.

Built in 1923, the recreation center was originally part of Stephens-Lee High School, once the only secondary school for African-Americans in Western North Carolina. The school was closed in 1965 as part of desegregation.

Ryan Seymour, center director at Stephens-Lee, said the gymnasium was the most dramatic part of the renovation. The floors were replaced, the walls were repainted and the lighting was switched out. The floors are now made of maple that bounces light around the room. However, one thing stayed the same through the renovation: A “memory wall,” featuring signatures from the highschool’s alumni, is still in place.

Seymour adds that one project is still in the works: Stephens-Lee will soon hold a museum-style room to honor alumni, featuring trophies, photographs and more.

This summer the center will hold summer camps along with breakdancing classes with local dance troupe Underdog Crew and games including “Power Mix” and pickleball. The center also offers yearlong gym memberships.

The center was closed for renovation in December 2014, and according to the city of Asheville, the total cost of the restoration was $30,000. Stephens-Lee Recreation Center is located at 30 George Washington Carver Ave.

Can’t see this slideshow on your mobile device? Click here.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Sarah Whelan
Avid news enthusiast. Photojournalist interested in community outreach. Freelancer for Mountain Xpress. Follow me @WhelanSarah_

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “In photos: Stephens-Lee Recreation Center reopening

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.