Coopersburg Community Center*

Location: Coopersburg Borough Hall

*This is not meant to be the permanent name of the entity, this is a placeholder. The senior staff and board should name the space.

This concept went through several iterations before landing where we are. There are a few new concepts in Coopersburg like Sage Alley that are fulfilling some of the need that was identified in the visioning sessions, but a collaborative space that could bring in the public schools as well as the community college became a major desire.

During our search for an existing property that could be revitalized for this concept, we landed on Borough Hall. Currently the building is utilized for Borough administration on the main floor, but they only need about 1,000 square feet. The second floor is occupied by the Coopersburg Historical Society Museum and the basement is rented by the Coopersburg Area Society of Model Engineers (CASME) at $150/month. This leaves a great deal of space that is underutilized, and the building sits in the center of downtown making it a great destination for a social space.

The goal is to retain all three of the current users of the space and activate the additional square footage that is underutilized as a social space for the residents of Coopersburg.

These concepts will include (hover to read more):

Borough Administration

Historical Society

Art Gallery

Coffee Shop

Performance Space

Maker Space

Coopersburg Area Society of Model Engineers

Classrooms

Culinary Space

Establish a new non-profit entity that will lease the building from the Borough, and partner with the following organizations:

Coopersburg Historical Society Museum (CHSM)

Coopersburg Historical Society Museum (CHSM)

The Historical Society has a fantastic board and volunteer base but has struggled to attract a strong audience and funding. A recent capital campaign attempt stalled, but the concept was strong. Audience development has been a struggle due to unpaid staff trying to maintain consistent hours, an inability for strong signage and marketing and a location hidden away on the 2nd floor of borough that lacks ADA accessibility.

CHSM has a robust and deep collection of Coopersburg history that the public needs to see. The plan is to keep their collection in the space and make the following potential changes:

  • CHSM would curate their collection throughout the building working with new staff of new entity
  • The collection would rotate at intervals agreeable with CHSM (monthly, quarterly, annually…)
  • CHSM would retain complete control of the curation process
  • CHSM would remain its own 501c3 entity
Coopersburg Area Society of Model Engineers

Coopersburg Area Society of Model Engineers

CASME, similar to CHSM, has been hidden away in Borough Hall in the basement. Through an agreement with the Borough, CASME has paid a nominal rent for the space and maintained their sets. The goal is to keep CASME in their space, but to significantly upgrade the facility.

Potential changes include capital improvements to the following:

  • Ceiling
  • Lighting
  • HVAC
  • Floors
  • ADA accessibility
  • Two side rooms
    • Each would receive the same upgrades as above but also become rooms capable hosting private events, mostly children’s birthday parties to create new revenue
Southern Lehigh School District

Southern Lehigh School District

The public school district, led by Superintendent Kathleen T. Evison, has a nationally recognized robotics team in the high school. This team has won numerous awards and continues to grow in size and scope. The team lacks a true maker space in the school and is open to working with the Borough to utilize the maker space in the community center.

A financial arrangement may be able to work out, but the goal is to have the students in the space feeling like they have ownership. The ideal is for more students to use the venue on a weekly basis, and we view the robotics team as a gateway for this engagement.

Lehigh Carbon Community College

Lehigh Carbon Community College

LCCC has been expanding their classes to non-enrolled students. One area they see great potential is offering increased culinary classes. A major concern has been that the campus is nearly 30-minutes away and many residents are not willing to drive there for this type of class. A partnership with the community center makes sense.