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Not your average recreation center – Johnson Legacy Center opens August 15

Published on August 14, 2020

August 15 Grand Opening celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. offers tours, demonstrations, memberships

A facility of firsts, the 41,695-square foot Johnson Legacy Center (JLC) will be the first membership-based recreation center in the City of Huntsville, the first City-managed facility with an indoor rock climbing wall and the first to offer multi-use courts that can be adjusted to meet the demands of both volleyball and futsal.

The $5.3 million facility renovated by Consolidated Constructed Company and designed by the KPS Group is the result of nearly four years of planning, including nearly half a dozen public input sessions.

“The residents of North Huntsville were clear in their desire to honor the incredible legacy of the J.O. Johnson Jaguars while creating a quality of life draw that spurs economic opportunity,” Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said. This project achieves that and more.”

Tour the new JLC!

From the Jaguar Community Room that features memorabilia from Johnson High School’s storied past to the hues of blue and gold that don the facility, the Jaguar spirit is strong throughout the school gymnasium turned state-of-the-art recreation center.

The City of Huntsville’s Parks & Recreation Department will manage the facility including programming and staff resources.

“We are excited to open the Johnson Legacy Center and celebrate the history of the school, as well as start a new experience for those who will take advantage of the fitness center, rock climbing wall, meeting rooms and more,” said Parks & Recreation Director Steve Ivey.

History & Impact

“This is more than a piece of property,” Huntsville City Council President Devyn Keith said. “It’s a community legacy. It’s been an honor to work with the administration to ensure we were intentional with this investment.  We owe it to the people of District 1 to guarantee the Johnson Legacy Center and future developments surrounding it have a positive impact on our neighborhoods. This first-of-its-kind space will serve as a draw that brings all Huntsvillians to North Huntsville, and we’re excited to roll out the welcome mat as we showcase why District 1 is a great place to live, work and play.”

Located on the site of the former J.O. Johnson High School which closed in 2016, the campus is an example of what Dennis Madsen, the City’s Urban & Long Range Planner calls adaptive reuse.

“We’re pleased to continue to efficiently repurpose existing structures with significant local history and character,” Madsen said. “Johnson Legacy Center is a model for the City. It’s projects like these, including the similarly re-adapted Sandra Moon Complex, that set Huntsville apart from our peer cities, recruits workforce and make the Rocket City a desirable place to live.”

Leaving a Legacy

The Schools Foundation of Huntsville and Madison County will provide an opportunity for Johnson alumni and supporters to purchase engraved bricks that will form the “Education Pathway” outside the front entrance of the Legacy Center.

Funds raised from the “Bricks for Education” campaign will be used to support the students of Jemison High and its feeder schools. Details on how to purchase brick pavers will be available at the August 15 grand opening event and on theschoolsfoundation.org/bricks. Those interested may also e-mail bricks@theschoolsfoundation.org.

Next Up

Mayor Tommy Battle said the project has been referred to as transformational for North Huntsville because the amenities offered will attract residents from across the City and because the recreation center is one part of a much larger footprint.

“Private residences called “Jaguar Hills” will be located just a short walk away and represent North Huntsville’s first new neighborhood construction in many decades. These private residences built by Stanley, LLC and Davidson Homes, will ultimately be followed by small-scale retail offerings.

The Huntsville Police & Fire Academy, currently located next door to the Legacy Center will move into the Public Safety Training Facility in the Spring of 2021, paving the way for additions to the mixed-use development.

Kevin Ready, the Legacy Center’s Fitness and Program Supervisor, is looking forward to welcoming Huntsville residents to the grand opening event Saturday, August 15 and explains the precautions the City is taking to keep guests and members safe amid COVID-19.

“For the grand opening and as general practice as we continue to deal with COVID-19, all high-touch areas of JLC will be cleaned every two hours, hand sanitizer will be available throughout the facility, exercise machines will be spaced at least 6 ft. a part and room capacity will be strictly monitored,” Ready said. “Additionally, we’ll have health safety signage installed throughout the building.”

Fitness membership for the Johnson Legacy Center begins at $15 per month with options to include climbing offered at $30 per month. For additional information about amenities and membership, visit HuntsvilleAL.gov/JohnsonLegacyCenter.

Amenity Roundup

  • New gymnasium area with markings for 2 futsal courts and 3 volleyball courts
  • Gymnasium will include new athletic flooring
  • Indoor rock climbing wall
  • Jaguar community room
  • State-of-the-art strength training and cardio equipment area
  • Men’s and women’s locker rooms with saunas
  • Lounge area with Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Group exercise area
  • New LED lighting throughout