SUMMIT, NJ - Merriam-Webster defines recognize as "to perceive to be something or someone previously known." So, by extrapolation. unrecognizable can be taken to mean "unable to perceive to be something or someone previously known."

Welcome to the new, "unrecognizable" Summit Community Center.

Now, anyone who has driven by the structure that has taken shape on the grounds of the Summit Community Center 1.0 knows that version 2.0 looks nothing like its predecessor but, it is the journey inside the renovated and expanded 65-year-old facility that takes before-and-after to a new level.

Sign Up for Summit Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

And now -- with one snip of Mayor Nora Radest's giant, ceremonial scissors --  every Summit resident has the opportunity to see that transformation first-hand and, more importantly, enjoy the dramatically upgraded amenities first-hand as well.

The ribbon-cutting opened the doors and brings the $6.5 million project to a near conclusion. The 20-month construction project brought a 17,000 square-foot expansion that doubled the Center's original size, including a new gymnasium funded by Investors Bank that features a high school regulation-size basketball court, and a designated building wing for senior citizen activities funded by Celgene Corporation, which also supplied all of the furniture / furnishings in the building.

There's also a new game room, expanded office and meeting space, along with upgraded restrooms.

“Now that the renovation project is complete, we look forward to welcoming the entire community to this beautiful and accessible new space funded through a combination of generous public and private donations,” said Summit Mayor Nora Radest, who added, "The Department of Community Programs offers programs for residents of all ages and abilities and will be able to expand these offerings in its updated location.”

The revamped Community Center will also continue to serve as the headquarters for the City's Department of Community Programs.

The public-private partnership saw a fundraising effort led by Summit residents Jude Avelino and Drew Maldonado exceed its $1.2 million goal that was intended to be a bridge between the City's $4.5 million commitment and the project's original $5.7 million price tag. In March of 2017, it was disclosed that the project was anticipated to cost $6.5 million due to cost line items that were not included in the budget on which the Summit Common Council based its final project approval vote in April of 2014.