The Hannah Community Center in East Lansing is celebrating its 20th anniversary

The Hannah Community Center in East Lansing is celebrating its 20th anniversary. What started as an idea from local residents has now become the heart of the city’s leisure activities.

In the late 1990s, residents of East Lansing proposed converting the former Hannah Middle School building on Abbot Road into a place for people to gather, host events and play sports.

East Lansing Parks director of recreation and arts, Cathy DeShambo, says the center has since grown into a community center where residents can come and participate in a variety of activities.

“On a Saturday, you can walk into the building and see people coming to swimming lessons, families coming to the basketball program, or people coming to the theater show that night.”

The Hannah Community Center is named for former president of Michigan State College, now the university, John A. Hannah. After John Hannah Middle School closed in 1997, the building sat vacant until 2002, when the center opened to the public.

Kathleen Miller, the city’s program coordinator, says several generations of children have come to enjoy the center.

“Before COVID you could come here on a Saturday morning in the winter and both gyms were packed with kids playing. … So it’s just a place where people make memories.”

After being forced to cancel an in-person celebration this month due to COVID, DeShambo plans to host an all-day family-friendly event in June.

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