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Renovation Report: Amay James Recreation Center

When the doors to the Amay James Recreation Center were closed in 2008, it wasn’t clear to county officials if or when it might reopen.

In the throes of a wretched economy, a shrinking budget forced Mecklenburg County to shutter the facility. So it sat empty for close to four years. And, in that time, it languished.

AAR of North Carolina is the general contractor for the $208,400 roofing project at the center. Photo by Payton Guion

When Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools needed to move into the rec center in August, some work was needed. Whenever it rained, water dripped through the roof and into the building. CMS did what it could to patch the holes and prevent further water damage, but what the building really needed was a new roof.

So, in November, the county let the roofing project for bids, according to Dennis LaCaria, director of facilities planning and real estate for CMS. And the county chose Kernersville-based AAR of North Carolina as the general contractor on the $208,400 roofing project, according to the county’s building permits database.

The county issued the permit — the very first one it awarded for the new year — Jan. 2, the database shows. Calls to AAR weren’t returned, so it’s not clear when construction officially began. AAR was also chosen as the contractor for $490,000 in renovation work on the building for WTVI, the Charlotte affiliate of the Public Broadcasting Service.

LaCaria said that Amay James has been home since the start of this school year to an afterschool program for Reid Park Academy that the YMCA is coordinating, as well as being used as the physical education facilities for the Reid Park middle school students. Reid Park has students from Kindergarten through eighth grade.

He said that the leaky roof didn’t deter CMS from using the then-empty facility, but it has created a bit of a problem.

“I mean, we were going to use it no matter what, but we were kind of hoping that it was going to be done before we moved in,” LaCaria said, adding that he wasn’t sure what held up the roofing project. “The county had it planned for a while; this was something they were going to be doing regardless of whether we were in there or not.”

No county representatives returned calls asking for insight for contractors seeking county work, but there is one other current contracting opportunity with Parks and Rec, according to the county website. The county has released a request for proposals from private engineering or landscape architectural firms to provide planning and design services for an extension of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway from Park Road to Cadillac Avenue, the site shows.


Project description: Replacing the roof on the Amay James Recreation Center.

Address: 2425 Lester St.

Cost: $208,400

Space under renovation: The rec center roof

Total space: N/A

General contractor: AAR of North Carolina

Who provided financing? The money for the project came from Mecklenburg County bonds.

Construction began: Project was let in November and the building permit was issued in January.

Expected completion: LaCaria said he didn’t know when the project would be finished.

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