The building, located at 1040 West Las Palmas St., closed its doors from Nov. 14 to Dec. 1 in an effort to update the local center, creating a ‘fresh’ and comfortable haven to complement the local youth’s taste.
The renovation project did not disappoint. Happy-go-lucky students filed into the building with bright eyes and wide smiles as they examined the facility for the first time after school Dec. 2. The new features included a ping pong cover for the pool table, new computers, two rows of lockers, a chalk wall, new flooring and paint color scheme, and new pieces of furniture.
Kristen Skopec, recreation specialist and event coordinator for the Teen Center, said the small changes have had a drastic impact on the functionality of the room, and allows a brighter, fun vibe for their patrons.
“It was a little dirty and less functional for staff and student alike,” said Skopec during the center’s opening, Dec. 2. “We’ve freed up more space, freshened it up, and added a few more things for the kids to do. City and staff put in a lot of time and effort in the project, and did extra hours to make it look good. It was a big group effort with our recreation department and staff members. Aesthetically, it looks better.”
Carpets were pulled, green walls were painted over, and old furniture pieces were repurposed for a maximum impact.
“The main thing we are happy about are the new computers,” said Skopec, who pointed out the new work station. “The kids can have more room to do their homework, now.”
The center’s administrative aspect received a face-lift as well. Skopec added that with the renovation came new forms for parents, new procedures and an altered code of conduct for the children to follow.
“We’ll have Teen Center membership cards effective Dec. 16,” said Skopec. “The kids can just use their cards to get in and get out. It will be easier to keep track of them this way. We want to make sure this is a fun, safe place to be.”
The center has also added a new activity guide, and has special events in the works, including field trips and classes through the Teen Center and recreation department.
The Teen Center is also equipped with a large flat screen television, a Wii, foosball tables and provides students with a snack twice a day. Every day of the week, planned activities are also provided.
Students busied themselves scribbling on the chalkboard wall, playing an indoor basketball arcade game and lounging on the new furniture. Each student commented on how nice the center looked, and became overjoyed with the new lockers.
Patron Celena McDonald has been visiting the Teen Center for a year and was pleased with the new updates.
“I like it,” McDonald said, scrawling in a notebook on one of the new sofas. “Everything looks new.”
She added that the center had become a home away from home, and was happy for the renovations to be over so she may spend her free time with the friends she has acquired during her stay.
Although the center has already welcomed back its patrons with open arms, Skopec added that the center will be hosting a soft reopening again in the form of a Christmas party from 2 to 4 p.m., Dec. 13.
The center will be decorated for the holidays, and will provide cookies and hot chocolate. Sign-ups are also in order for a gift exchange to happen that very day, although gift exchange spots will be given on a first come, first serve basis.
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24, or firstname.lastname@example.org.