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Wednesday, November 2, 2016
A recently filed rezoning case could soon breathe new life into the former Tuttle Community Center at 310 North Tarboro Street in downtown Raleigh.
Owned by St. Augustine’s University since a corporation by the name of Tuttle Community Center Inc. deeded the property over to the school in 1978, the building spent most of its existence as a day care facility. It was originally built in 1970.
The new & improved Tuttle Public Health Center will, according to information provided to the North Central Citizens Advisory Council:
“Support the undergraduate Public Health programs, while educating and training future Public Health workers,”
“The facility will be utilized as a think tank for the Public Health students (PHSS) to study health disparities in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Global area.”
Oddly enough, we could not track down any kind of press release or update on the center in the archives of St. Augustine’s University news releases. We did find one piece, written in February by one “ksmorrisonsite” on a WordPress site.
It is one of only five articles on said site, but it’s pretty well done, and the author even checked the Wake County Building Records to get the building’s age. Impressive! That’s the kind of heavy-duty research you can normally only find here on the Development Beat.
About the article: there was some kind of ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier this year at the Tuttle center, which St. Augustine’s President Everett B. Ward described as an opportunity “to allow students, faculty and the community to know that Saint Augustine’s University has a lot in store not only for our university but for our community.”
That’s right: it was a ribbon-cutting ceremony in January for a facility that still hasn’t opened by November. It turns out, the property is zoned residential, and the University needs that changed to office mixed-use in order to open the health center.
According to that same article, Dr. Derrick L. Sauls, chairman of the Public Health and Exercise Science at St. Aug’s released a statement where he wrote:
“While educating and training future public health workers, the facility will be utilized as a think tank for public health students to study health disparities in Raleigh and globally,” the statement said. “They will actively participate in Community Based Organizations to develop programs and understand health policies.”
Although the building’s exterior has already seen some minor improvements since it ceased to be a day care facility — some landscaping, a new sign, etc. — this rezoning will not make any further exterior changes.
According to the information provided to the NE CAC:
“There will not be any major structural changes to the outside of building, only interior modifications to bathrooms, installation of technology in classrooms, upgrades of doors and windows, and new HVAC units.”
Per the rezoning application, the University believes the new facility would be a “significant benefit to the public, especially immediately adjacent to the University. The proposed rezoning will allow the university to provide a teaching facility in the neighborhood immediately adjacent to the school.”
In addition to a presentation at the October 11 NE CAC meeting, the University held a small neighborhood meeting in September where those aforementioned immediately adjacent neighbors were invited to share their concerns. They apparently had only one: where were people going to park?