Lucy F. Simms Continuing Education Center

Born enslaved in 1856, Lucy F. Simms went on to receive her degree from Virginia’s Hampton Institute, and eventually settled in Harrisonburg to teach over 1,800 students from three generations of families. The Lucy F. Simms School was built soon after her death and served African-American students from all over Rockingham County and beyond between 1938 and 1965. This exhibit, spanning 150 years of history, tells the story of the school in terms of its place at the heart of local community life. The exhibit was produced by James Madison University students and their professors, Dr. Mollie Godfrey and Dr. Seán McCarthy, working in close collaboration with countless community members and the Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Project in association with Billo Harper. The exhibit opened on April 25, 2016, and is permanently housed in the Lucy F. Simms Continuing Education Center.

For more information on the history of Lucy F. Simms and the Lucy F. Simms Continuing Education Center, visit Celebrating Simms, the Story of the Lucy F. Simms School

Center Office Hour:
Monday-Friday:  8:00am-5:00pm
Facility Holiday and Event Closings- Please call 540-437-9213 for questions regarding holiday and event closings. Closings are also posted to the Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation Facebook.

Community Hours:
Computer Lab:

  • 8:30am-11:30am / 2:00pm-5:00pm (Monday-Friday)
  • 6:30pm-9:00pm (Monday and Wednesday)

Fitness Room:

  • 8:00am-12:00pm (Monday and Wednesday)
  • 6:30pm-9:00pm (Monday and Wednesday)
  • 7:30am-2:00pm (Tuesday and Thursday)


Fee Schedule

Local adult residents may enjoy the facilities of the Simms Center and the Cecil F. Gilkerson Community Activities Center by purchasing an annual pass. Passes are available to city residents and non-residents alike. The pass will serve as entry to the center and is required to access our fitness room.

Rates are as follows:

Annual Passes:

  • City Resident Adult $30
  • Non-Resident Adult $60
  • City Resident Youth (Grades 6–12) $5
  • Non-Resident Youth (Grades 6–12) $15
  • Senior City Resident $15
  • Senior Non-Resident $30

Daily Guest Fee:

  • Adult* $3.00
  • Youth $2.00

*Must show photo identification to enter.

Room Rentals:

Are you planning an event? The Simms Center has many options if you’re looking for space. We’d be happy to accommodate your next business meeting, conference, or workshop.

Additional Room Rental Description and Rates- For questions regarding Simms Center Room Rental Description and Rates please call 540-437-9213.