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Virginia Cook Activity Center opens in West Point

By Alicia B. Hill

LaGRANGE – The community turned out to help an old building celebrate its new life on Wednesday, as the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce and the City of West Point officially cut the ribbon on the Virginia Cook Activity Center.

“We are celebrating a legacy today, something that began in 1942 when Virginia Cook began a school to assist the mothers who were working in the factories to care for their children, and I just really thought that that was a cool beginning,” West Point Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Tramell said. “These beginnings were not at this location. The original location – there is actually a plaque on the wall about it – burnt down, so we don’t have as much history as we’d like to have. This was its final location up until the mid-1990s, so it had a great history. It’s impact on our community for the last 75 years is just amazing to me. People have been here, going to school here, and just the lasting legacy and how it’s impacted their lives is just phenomenal.”

The activity center is located on the east side of historic downtown West Point, and it stands as a representative of how so much of West Point has found new life in recent years.

“This building is the perfect representation of how do you preserve history while also forging a new path to the future, and this is a great blend of that,” LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce President Page Estes said.

The building was restored by local residents who took it upon themselves to see the historic building repaired, and now the building will be available to rent for community functions that would require a smaller space than West Point’s other major venue at the Depot.

“In this age of technology – where we are so isolated –  we are so fortunate to have centers like this to bring people together,” LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce Chair John Asbell said. “It is a tremendous asset. It is a great reflection of commitment, of teamwork and the vision of your community. The chamber is proud to be a part of this.”

Officials expressed a desire for anyone with photos or memorabilia from the building’s time as a daycare to contact the West Point Recreation Center in regards to items that could be loaned or donated to the center to celebrate its history, and what they hope will be a long future as it continues to be a major part of the West Point community.

“This is a fine addition to our community,” Tramell said. “One that will last another 75 years, I’m sure.”

The Virginia Cook Activity Center is located at 806 Martin Luther King Drive in West Point.