WILLIAMSTOWN -- New computers, a new van and a new administrative assistant are three changes that have arrived at the Council on Aging's (COA) Harper Center.
"We've replaced all of the computers in the building," Brian O'Grady, Williamstown COA director, said at a meeting Monday. "We now have computers that are brand new with big screens, and are really, really fast."
The COA public computer lab features four new desktop computers that run the Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system. The previous computers ran a much older version of the operating system, O'Grady said.
Response from visitors has been favorable, he said.
"We've had more people in looking at them and wanting to learn how to use them than we've had in the past," he said. "I think that's primarily because every time you buy a new computer, you get upgraded and programs. What we had were several years old."
The new computers also include the word processing program Microsoft Word and spreadsheet program Microsoft Excel. Others include Google Earth, a virtual map program, and Adobe Reader, used to read documents.
O'Grady said the COA is planning on bringing in instructors to teach seniors how to use the new computers and programs.
"The entire building has Wi-Fi," O'Grady added. "We've seen some people bring their own computers."
The COA also received a new van through the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA), O'Grady said. The organization took delivery of the 2013 Ford 8-passenger van three weeks ago.
"It still smells new," O'Grady said.
Under a deal with the BRTA, the organization receives a new van every several years. The organization is in charge of hiring van drivers, insuring the vehicle, and paying for the vehicle's maintenance fuel, he said.
"We do everything except own it," O'Grady explained.
O'Grady said that van driver Kathy Vareschi was "very pleased" with the new van, which reportedly has a much smoother ride.
The COA welcomed Heather DeMarsico as the organization's new administrative assistant on Aug. 26, O'Grady said.
DeMarsico, a North Adams resident, held a similar role at the Brayton Court apartment complex in North Adams.
The administrative assistant position was previously held by Ann Luczynski, who died on June 29.
O'Grady referred to DeMarsico as the COA's first "21st century secretary" for her computer literacy. She is currently working to create a community resource guide for regular seniors who visit the center, he said.
The Harper Center is located at 188 Church St. For more information, call 413-458-8250.
To reach Edward Damon, e-mail