LAURINBURG, N.C. (WBTW) — A ribbon-cutting was held Tuesday for the grand opening of the I. Ellis Johnson Community Center in Laurinburg.

The project was a culmination of county, state and city collaboration, according to a news release. Scotland County inherited the property from Scotland County Schools and chose to enhance the gym and library into a community center.

It’s the first public community center in Laurinburg, the release said.

Barbara Rogers, the center’s director, talked about how elated she was about the opening.

“Being raised in Scotland County and Laurinburg specifically, right on this side of town, people have been anticipating what this would look like for a long time and I am truly honored to be a part of the team that is bringing it to life,” she said.

Rogers said the center can be a safe haven for some.

“It’s an opportunity for us to give them a safe haven, to let them be proud of something that they see in their community that they have relationships with because before Johnson closed, many of us came through here even if for only a year, like myself. So, it’s an outlet to do something different.”

Caleb is a digital producer at News13. Caleb joined the team in January 2023 after graduating from Liberty University. He is from Northern Virginia. Follow Caleb on X, formerly Twitter, and read more of his work here.