A local LGBT community center is weighing options on a renovation project.
William Way LGBT Community Center officials have been developing a plan to redesign the center with help from the Community Design Collaborative, an organization that provides pro-bono preliminary design services to nonprofit organizations in Greater Philadelphia.
“[Redesigning the building is] going to provide a community center that we can be proud of in the region for the next half-century,” said William Way Executive Director Chris Bartlett. “It’s really building on the great vision that the founders of the center — William Way, Mark Segal and others — had to take it to the next level and continue to create a site for LGBT organizing and community building that we can be proud of for many decades to come.”
Bartlett said three options are currently being considered for renovation:
- Renovate the existing building without structural changes.
- Demolish the whole building and start from scratch.
- Demolish the rear half of the building behind the lobby and grand stairway while adding new space.
Bartlett noted the need to maintain certain aspects of the building for historical purposes.
“The front space has much of the community-oriented space that we’ve used in the past — the ballroom, the lobby and the archives — and we’ve invested significantly in those spaces and they are beloved spaces that have a strong resonance with the community. They’re also the most structurally sound parts of the building.”
Bartlett said this project will span several years, with possible plans for temporary office spaces in a new location for William Way staff. He said there are “quite a bit of initial steps that have to be done with fundraising” before construction begins.
“We expect that over the next year, we will be making clear decisions around the exact architectural program and the funding process that we’ll be pursuing.”