Marydia Community Center

Marydia is a small, primarily low income residential community in unincorporated Osceola County bordered by industrial facilities. When the county decided to build a community center in Marydia, the plan called for Heery Design to demolish a fire and rescue station and replace it with another. Rather than tear it down and building something similar, Heery proposed a design that would recycle the building, transforming the plain, prefabricated structure into a center that was fun, functional and inviting. The design team attended community meetings, gathering feedback and discussing the design options. Ultimately, the community favored the team’s concept of reusing the original property.

To fulfill its vision for the community center, the Heery design team secured the cooperation of a local architectural precast concrete manufacturer who donated concrete panels from its precast “graveyard” - a stockpile of surplus material that had been created for, but not used by, other clients - and it also offered a discount on new panels needed to complete the project. The majority of the panels form the exterior of the addition. The punched windows already in the precast design bring ample daylight into the building, helping to keep energy costs down. Some of the panels were transformed into site sculptures and climbing walls for the playground.

The Heery design team also found other creative uses for the concrete. For example, much of the hardscape, including the plaza flooring and outdoor seating, was created from four-foot-by-four-foot precast concrete pours that the manufacturer had used to make mixtures for test colors. It is estimated that the redeploying of surplus building materials saved 12 to 15 tons of material from scrap yards or landfills. Besides the basic structure itself, Heery also repurposed the station’s chain link security fence which now serves as the framework and lattice for an entranceway arbor and a canopy over the new patio.

The team’s adaptive reuse approach to the project yielded substantial economic, environmental, and social benefits - the three pillars of sustainability for the Marydia community. Key components to the design include the following:

  • Using feedback from the community to create a design by repurposing the building, rather than a new build
  • Addition of a lobby, administrative office, maintenance rooms, computer lab, and kitchen
  • Multi-purpose room for children's programs and large community events such as public meetings
  • Outside enhancements including a front porch, rear courtyard, seating, and site sculptures
  • Creating a functional, flexible and inviting facility




Osceola County, FL


4,715 SF