Renovating and reopening the historic center
A/E/C professionals have a unique understanding of how a structure can transform its surroundings. Buildings can support occupant wellbeing, help provide jobs, and strengthen local economies. The historic Cedar Crest Community Center has served the Dallas, Texas, area with a wealth of resources since its opening in the 1970s by the Salvation Army. The property is surrounded by multi-family communities and situated near the historic Cedar Crest Golf Course, the Dallas Zoo, and Trinity Forest. As the home of the Cedar Crest Comets, the center’s thriving athletic programs for underprivileged youth have produced national champions for decades, including Kenyon Martin, who grew up playing basketball at the community center before being drafted by the National Basketball Association (NBA). The historic building was recently at risk of demolition before it was purchased by Behind Every Door, a Dallas-based charity organization.
Behind Every Door aims to create positive change in urban communities from the inside out by funding and operating community centers, like Cedar Crest, to build relationships and partner with people on their journey to thriving. These centers provide residents, especially children and youth, with high-quality programming and valuable resources, such as literacy education, entrepreneurial training, recreational sports leagues, after-school programs, senior citizen programming, and more. The historic Cedar Crest community center is expected to reopen in 2022 and offer access to transformative services for thousands of residents in the South Oak Cliff and broader Southern Dallas area.
Therefore, Jordan & Skala Engineers is excited to be collaborating with KDC (Real Estate Developer), Balfour Beatty (General Contractor), Corgan (Architectural Design), The Real Estate Council (TREC) of Dallas, OFS (Furniture Manufacturer), and North Texas BUILT (members-only organization that helps decision makers in the A/E/C industry create strong relationships and drive revenue), founded by our own Matt Marvel, to donate services toward renovating and reopening Behind Every Door’s Cedar Crest Community Center, neighboring the South Oak Cliff, Dallas, Opportunity Zone.
The federal Opportunity Zone program allows for new residential and commercial developments in underprivileged areas that promote economic growth to qualify for certain tax incentives. Many of these zones are home to existing multi-family and mixed-use developments. Since the program’s launch in 2017, it has demonstrated that investing in the development of disadvantaged communities helps increase employment opportunities and property values.
The pro-bono project at Cedar Crest features a 20,166-SF community center, a 4,068-SF church building, full kitchen, meeting rooms, and offices. The property contains a full-size football field with bleachers and concessions areas, in addition to the community center’s indoor full-size basketball gym, weight room, and locker rooms.
The center’s amenities are being combined with expert services donated by the A/E/C firms that have come together to support this community. Athletes Troy Aikman, Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth, Clayton Kershaw, and Avery Johnson (also a Behind Every Door board member) are also directly involved with the project.
We at JSE are excited to donate our MEP and low voltage lighting design services, as well as collaborate with manufacturers to select appropriate lighting fixtures. Our engineers are making special considerations for aesthetics, air conditioning, as well as electrical and plumbing systems design. One of our highest priorities is incorporating cutting-edge audio/visual design and technology to provide users with state-of-the-art A/V capabilities in the chapel, as well as safety and monitoring throughout, as many of Behind Every Door’s services support children and families.
Our design and sustainability experts are looking forward to successfully completing this project alongside North Texas BUILT and a strong design team of industry leaders. We can’t wait to see the South Oak Cliff community enjoy a fully renovated community center at Cedar Crest!