WILLIAMSTOWN -- With the final touches under way, the new Williamstown Youth Center will open its doors to local children next month.
During a tour of the new facility on Wednesday, Executive Director David Rempell said the organization plans to move its after-school program from its longtime location at 270 Cole Ave. to the new building off School Street on Monday, Nov. 5. In the meantime, there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the new building, and community members are invited to tour the facility at 3:15 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, and Thursday, Nov. 1, he said.
A opening celebration is also being planned for 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11, in the gymnasium of the new building.
"This building was built by the community, and we want to make sure the community has an opportunity to see the results of its efforts," Rempell said.
The project will finish on time and on budget, and the total cost will end up being about $3.9 million, he said. The capital campaign for the building, "Together We Can," raised roughly $4.27 million in cash and pledges, with one pledge spread to 2023.
"We're going to have to borrow money based upon the pledges going out so far. We project to pay that debt off in eight years," he said.
Construction of the approximately 12,300-square-foot, single-story building began in March. The facility is located on the grounds of the Wil liamstown
Rempell said the new Youth Center gives the organization a lot more programming options to enrich the lives of children after the school day is over.
During the tour, he highlighted the purpose of each space in the new building, which included a library and learning center area, a multimedia room, an art room, a game room, a common room, administrative offices and a kitchenette.
"We have the facility now to allow children to move in groups from one activity to another," Rempell said.
In addition, there is the potential for collaboration with the elementary school to provide expanded learning opportunities for students during the school day.
He noted a room set up like a classroom, which will be used by the Williamstown Community Preschool for its kindergarten program. Be sides the preschool, Berkshire Dance Theater will also rent space from the Youth Center to hold classes in a room designed specifically with movement and dance in mind, he said.
"This building is for the kids," he said.
Assistant Director Michael Williams said he is excited that the new Youth Center will not only have a mold-free and dry space for students interested in playing music, but also provide them the opportunities to write and digitally record music as well as collaborate with students interested in other fields, such as film.
"The opportunity is now there for children to create original works and present them," he said.
Rempell said the Youth Center will continue to accept children in grades one through eight for its after-school program, and plans to begin offering a before-school program in December. Additional staff will also be hired, and they're preparing to accommodate about 100 children, which is approximately double the number of children who currently participate in Youth Center programming, he said.
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