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Expanding a Vital Community Resource

Community centers provide opportunities for people of all ages to interact, learn from each other, and appreciate art and culture. They also promote healthy living and provide help for those in need. In 2016, Madison, Wisconsin’s Goodman Community Center was doing all of this and more, but their historic facility, the former Madison Iron Works factory, lacked adequate space to address the changing needs of its patrons. Over the next two years, Snyder & Associates assisted the Community Center leaders as they purchased and renovated a nearby building, creating the city’s largest community center.

Donations Enable Facility Addition and Enhancements

Enhanced artist’s rendering of the new Goodman Community Center.

The acquisition of the neighboring building, the former Madison Brass Works, made the expansion possible. The purchase was funded almost entirely by local donations. To identify and preserve areas of historic significance, the Brass Works building was evaluated before renovations began. Large open areas were slated to become multipurpose rooms and a new addition was planned to house classrooms and offices.

The popular Capital City State Trail, which passes between the two buildings, allows easy access to both facilities for trail users. A large arrangement of bike racks and benches was added outside the entrances to provide an inviting space for bicyclists and walkers. An expanded parking lot was constructed during the renovation to create further space for visitors.

Land for the parking lot expansion was generously donated by a neighbor. The Snyder & Associates team completed a certified survey map (CSM) to facilitate the land’s donation and helped the community center maximize the newly acquired space and resources by utilizing existing parking lot grades. This step allowed the additional parking stalls to be created without the need for further stormwater permitting, saving funds to reinvest in the project. It was also critical to the project’s success since available onsite green space and parking were limited. Our team also helped navigate the City of Madison’s permitting process for the CSM and site approvals.

Renovations Create Space for Enrichment

Additional parking was much-needed for the new addition. Image Credit: Eppstein Uhen Architects

The renovation of the Goodman Community Center reconfigured its facilities to fit the needs of its programs and services. The additional space created by the project made room for early childhood and elementary classrooms. Health and fitness programs were consolidated into a gym area to host exercise classes. The food pantry was expanded and continues to provide groceries to area families each week.

Many of the industrial elements of the two former factories were incorporated into the new facility’s design and landscaping, adding interest to the interior and exterior spaces, as well as preserving their local significance. With their newly renovated spaces, the Goodman Community Center can now provide expanded education, employment, and enrichment programming to citizens of the greater Madison area, in a facility worthy of its historic namesake.