Building to serve as an “epicenter of philanthropy, business and health”

While looking for a new office, the leaders of the Gaston Community Foundation decided to think big, really big.

Over the next 10 months, the result of this reflection – a gleaming brick and glass structure known as Founders Hall – will rise to the corner of South New Hope and Country Club roads in Gastonia.

“We want a building that will not only house the foundation, but serve as the epicenter of philanthropy, business and health for the entire community,” said Tim Efird, member of the leadership team in charge. to develop the building.

“It will be more than a building,” Efird said of the 20,000 square foot structure, which is expected to cost $ 10 million to build. “It will serve as a catalyst for this whole region.”

Efird and Marsh Spencer spoke about the new building serving as an anchor for the New Hope Trade Corridor, an area they see stretching from Court Drive to Robinwood Road.

“Think about it,” Spencer said. “You bring a potential business investor to Gastonia. You drive it through the CaroMont regional medical center, through the new CaroMont health park in the FUSE district, through the Warlick Family YMCA, then through this new building.

“All of this,” he continued, “will show the ‘can-do’ spirit of this community. A community that is proud. A community that works together. A community that can get things done.”

The site where Foundation Hall will stand is currently home to what is known as the former Girl Scout Building, which has been vacant for a number of years. It will be razed shortly before the start of work on the new facility.

The building will be constructed by LS3P, a Charlotte-based architectural firm that has constructed several office buildings in downtown Queen City.

“The building will fit in perfectly with our community and its heritage,” said Spencer. “It will be reminiscent of our textile heritage with lots of bricks and hardwoods. It will be something everyone can be proud of.”

Foundation President Ernest Sumner stressed that care will be taken in choosing tenants who will share the Foundation Hall.

“We want to be very strategic about who will be housed in Foundation Hall,” he said. “We want to be sure that we strike the balance between business, philanthropy and health that we envisioned.”

Executives noted that Foundation Hall will present a “remarkable opportunity” for a number of Gaston County nonprofits to come together in one location. This central location will allow collaboration between not-for-profit organizations and allow the community to access resources and services more easily.

“We plan to provide the nonprofit community with a home for shared resources dedicated to leadership development,” said Elizabeth Patton, Donor Development Manager, “while creating space to come together through meeting rooms. shared conference and community space ”.

The building’s proximity to I-85 will also allow easy access from virtually anywhere in Gaston County, she noted.

In addition to offices and meeting spaces, Sumner said the new building will also include a “great hall,” suitable for large community events and a place where former community leaders will be honored.

“It is important to honor and remember the leaders who have come before us,” Sumner said. “We rest on the shoulders of those who started the foundation in 1978 and who have supported and guided it since then.”

Sumner noted that the foundation has awarded more than $ 115 million in grants and scholarships since its inception.

Efird, Spencer, Gene Matthews, John McGill, Nancy Paschall, Richard Rankin and Andy Warlick are part of the Foundation Hall leadership team.

Staff members include Sumner, Patton, Angela Micalizzi, and Erin Wiggins.

Bill Poteat can be reached at 704-869-1855 or [email protected]

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