West Cambridge Youth and Community Center Earns Prestigious LEED Green Building Certification


West Cambridge Youth & Community Ctr. Kids by Arthur Kwesi

The Mayor Sheila Doyle Russell West Cambridge Youth and Community Center, named in honor of the former Cambridge Mayor and long-time youth advocate, has been awarded LEED® Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute.  LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

The Center, which opened in July 2009, was designed by Cambridge Seven Associates (the firm that designed the Liberty Hotel, the Hall of Fame for the New England Patriots, Boston Children's Museum and Frisoli Youth Center in Cambridge). This beautiful facility is one of five youth centers within the Department of Human Service programs that provides an array of social, recreational and educational activities to the Cambridge community.  It includes a full size gym with dividers for multiple use; a fitness room with exercise equipment and free weights; a “teaching kitchen;” computer learning and homework center with 20 stations; a multi-purpose performance room with a platform stage; an arts and crafts room; an art wall for temporary youth exhibitions; and a community meeting room plus various open lounge areas.  The performance space includes state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment and a drop-down viewing screen.

In addition to the above amenities, the Cambridge Arts Council, working through the city’s award-winning Public Art Program, commissioned artist Michael Oatman to develop a permanent artwork to represent the diversity and activity in the neighborhoods of West Cambridge. Entitled, The Cantabrigians, Oatman created 23 ten-minute "video portraits" of residents, posed with objects and backgrounds of their choice highlighting their connections to the neighborhoods as well as their individual interests and personal and professional pursuits. The video portraits can be viewed in rotation on three large-scale monitors on the second floor of the Youth Center.

The West Cambridge Youth and Community Center was one of four award winning municipal buildings dedicated in 2009 that are now LEED certified using green building technologies.  Also included were the renovated War Memorial Recreation Center on Cambridge Street , the retrofitted Robert W. Healy Public Safety Facility on Sixth Street and the new Main Library on Broadway.

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