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Generations Center unveiled to public Friday
The Lathrop Generations Center will be formally introduced to the public on Friday at 1 p.m. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

LATHROP – Here’s the first lesson that will be taught to teens hanging out at the Lathrop Generations Center when it opens to the public at the end of the week. 

Persistence pays off. 

There was a point when the Lathrop Generations Center didn’t seem like it was going to happen, at least not anywhere near its current configuration. But local organizers refused to give up on a plan that not only gave young people a place to hang out but also provided a much-needed expanded space for the Lathrop public library. 

There was no money to spend. There was no money to budget. And when the State of California denied the initial grant application, it didn’t appear that there was any money to be handed out either.

But on Friday at 1 p.m., proof that diligence and hard work gets rewarded will be on display for the entire community to marvel at – a 10,000-square-foot testament to community resolve that took just under a year and $5 million to make happen. 

Born out of the idea to create a teen center in the community to give young people a place to go when they aren’t in school, The Generations Center quickly became the dream project for municipal planners and students who continued to introduce ideas that would have at one point been impossible to entertain. 

A community garden? No problem. The most ambitious public skate park in the Central Valley? Throw it in there. What could be the nation’s first public parkour park? Sure. 

Wrap all of it up in an energy efficient building that it’s as fun to look at as it is to play around in?

The growing list of ideas, however, began to legitimately take shape.

With a California Parks and Recreation grant that took revising and the ongoing support of the Lathrop City Council, the community ultimately got the gem that it hoped for all along – never settling for a redesigned building or anything substandard. Local skateboarders got to shape their ideal digs out of modeling clay and have those ideas incorporated within. The input of the teens played a major role in determining the outcome of the building. 

And while certain portions won’t be open when the building welcomes its first public guests on Friday – the community garden is expected to take time to get off of the ground – nearly everything that was envisioned when construction began has been included. 

Lathrop’s Measure C sales tax increase will foot the bill for a pair of administrators that will allow for staffing of the building (both of the positions have already been filled) when it opens later this week. 

Manteca architectural firm LDA Partners – the same firm that designed Manteca’s new fire station, corporation yard, animal shelter and transit center – came up with the building design. For the last month the interior of the building has been going through a certification process that goes hand-in-hand with being a designated green-energy facility. 


To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544