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Bryant Woods neighborhood center reopens tomorrow night


An old friend is back in Bryant Woods.

The neighborhood center, destroyed by arson last summer, has been rebuilt and reopens tomorrow night.

The Columbia Association, which rebuilt the center, will sponsor a reception from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for the Wilde Lake Village Board, the Columbia Council and Wilde Lake residents.

"It's nice to have it back, more than the fact that it's new," said Howard Feldmesser, Wilde Lake Village Board chairman. "To have it nicely redesigned is icing on the cake."

The Bryant Woods Montessori Children's House, a nonprofit preschool that had operated at the neighborhood center since it opened in 1970, plans to move back for fall classes, said Pamela Mack, the association's community relations director. The preschool spent last year in a Town Center office building.

The new building is smaller than the original 4,500-square-foot structure because the Rouse Co. decided not to rebuild a wing it had leased. Instead, the Rouse Co. deeded the land to the Columbia Association, which will leave it as open space.

The bathhouse and pump house for the Bryant Woods swimming pool also were destroyed and had to be rebuilt.

The pool opened in mid-June, Ms. Mack said.

The association's fire insurance covered most of the $250,000 cost to rebuild the center. The Columbia Council approved an additional $60,000 for improvements such as increased storage and a larger multipurpose room.

The design of the brick and white vinyl building, which will be used for community meetings and events, reflects houses in the neighborhood, one of the first to be developed in Columbia, Ms. Mack said.

The association is not aware of any progress in the state fire marshal's investigation of the case, Ms. Mack said. The fire marshal's office did not return a phone call yesterday.

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