The Hammonton Gazette
St. Joseph’s center
As more details are revealed about the conversion of the former St. Joseph Regional Elementary School, which was closed by the Diocese of Camden in 2020, into the St. Joseph Community Center, we feel that the plan for revitalizing the former school into a new use for the St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish is a good one.
For decades, the process of revitalization throughout Hammonton—downtown, uptown, Hammonton’s Little Italy and the Hammonton Business Park—has included the adaptive reuse of buildings that were once used for entirely different purposes. For example, the former K & H Auto Parts store became Annata Wine Bar downtown, the former Napa Auto Parts/Clark’s Liquor store became Showcase Sports uptown, the former Deer Park cookie factory became the headquarters of Universal Supply in the business park and now, the former Catholic elementary school building is becoming a Catholic community center.
Making use of the classrooms, offices, playground, stage and gym for classes, athletics, dramatic productions and the Little Cubs Pre-K shows the kind of creativity and ambition that is always needed when adapting a building to new uses. The St. Joseph Community Center is a large, red art-deco building that is an icon of St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish, Hammonton’s Little Italy, the downtown area and the town.
We are remarkably fortunate to have St. Joseph Community Center in Hammonton, joining St. Joseph Academy at Central Avenue and Vine Street, the schools of the Hammonton School District on Fourth Street, Liberty Street and Old Forks Road and Stockton University’s Kramer Hall on Front Street as places where people can learn and grow locally.