Vibrant portraits of Edmund Asa Ware, Bishop Frederick Douglas Jordan, and Dr. Ruth Hall Hodges adorn the entry to the new YMCA Leadership and Learning Center. This site for the headquarters for the YMCA of Metro Atlanta in the Historic Westside once served as the location for the Edmund Asa Ware Elementary School, the first elementary school for African Americans in Atlanta.
The building was later acquired by Morris Brown College, and renamed Jordan Hall in recognition of Bishop Frederick Douglas Jordan, a champion for the college and other African American institutions of higher education. Dr Hall Hodges, an accomplished artist and Morris Brown College professor, established an acclaimed art gallery in the basement of the Jordan Hall.
In the building wing designed for YMCA staff, flexible spaces with an abundance of natural sunlight encourage employee collaboration, promote professional development, and offer rooms for community meetings. A delightful common area accented with colorful teaching tools on the walls centers the other building wing. Four spacious classrooms adjacent to this common area provide easy access to two “messy” rooms where children can sharpen their artistic skills. The YMCA Leadership and Learning Center cradles an ingenious Outdoor Exploration Center designed by Cynthia Gentry of Play Atlanta. Comprised of finely crafted playhouses, a series of trellises, and sand pits, this play area inspires curiosity, educational play, and an appreciation for nature.
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