It can be difficult to design and build a public building that is both functional and attractive, as well as cost-effective. Rosemary Pope is a good example of someone who has mastered this concept.

Pope, who is the executive director at the George L. Stevens Senior Center San Diego, Calif., has spent 47 year advocating for senior citizens. He was among the first to petition the city for a new location. Officials opened the 11,000 square foot Stevens Center in San Diego on March 2, 2006, after raising the $5 million required for the project. This center has become a central meeting point for thousands of seniors living in the local area. Pope explained that the concrete masonry used to build the building is durable and long-lasting, so it can withstand heavy foot traffic.

“I’m very pleased with the new facility. We determined that concrete masonry would be ideal for this project because it doesn’t require much upkeep and is much less susceptible to vandalism -; an important factor when a facility is located in a heavily used park,”Pope.

Concrete is often associated with building structures in hurricane-prone areas. But concrete masonry also has the ability to withstand heavy foot traffic that can quickly damage a building.

“In high-traffic recreation centers where lots of sports are played, the building walls will see a constant amount of abuse,”Mario Reyes, the San Diego Park and Recreation project manager. “With concrete masonry, you don’t have to constantly repair and re-patch drywall. Using concrete is not only cost-effective, it also ensures that whatever you’re building will be impervious to years of daily wear and tear. That’s important.”

You can find more information about concrete masonry’s durability at