Cherokee Youth Center
The Boys and Girls Club of America’s Cherokee Youth Center serves as a gathering place for K-12 children across the region. The Center engaged McMillan Pazdan Smith to design a new facility to accommodate more staff, children, and activities. The new building features state-of-the-art classrooms, collaborative areas, a gymnasium, and locker rooms as well as offices for staff. These spaces were designed to support after school programs with a focus on group activities.
During programming, the owner clearly conveyed their vision of a building that appealed to and welcomed children of all ages. MPS incorporated programming and design elements that would be fun and playful without alienating teens. Metal panel cladding with a unique pattern along the exterior is whimsically sophisticated while inside, students can await pickup on a large staircase that offers elevated views into the gym and includes a two-story spiral slide.
Each classroom has a different accent color representing the seven clans of EBCI (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians). Brighter colors appear in the younger age classrooms, while the more mature neutral colors are used in teen classrooms. Custom vinyl graphics are located in each classroom, entry, and atrium space — a cost effective way to individualize the spaces and provide educational information.
The site presented unique challenges as the building needed to be carefully configured to accommodate the flood plain as well as a larger facility on a tight parcel of land. In addition, because objects of potential archaeological significance are often found on the site, surveys are required to check for uncovered artifacts that could potentially halt construction. Our team was able to complete all required surveys in a timely manner to avoid schedule delays.