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GIRARD School is awaiting its rebirth as a center for all the ages



Published: Fri, August 31, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The new center is in the old Tod Woods School.

By DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

GIRARD --The Multi-Generational Center on Trumbull Avenue is expected to open in mid-September offering technological, recreational and social programs for the young, old and in-between.

"We'll have something for any and all ages," said Jude Signoriello, program director for the center.

Programming will be modified when the center, located in the former Tod Woods School, initially opens to accommodate fourth- and fifth-graders being schooled there.

Classes from Girard Intermediate School are being taught in the building until school officials determine the school building is safe to reopen. A date hasn't been determined.

Tod Woods was used as a school until the new Intermediate School opened last fall. But the new school closed in the spring because of health concerns, and some of the children were moved into the old school building until the problems are resolved.

The Girard Community Committee is leasing the building from the school district for $1 per year.

The center is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Funds also came from the District XI Agency of Aging Inc. and the Girard Homecoming Committee.

Reuse: "Intergenerational centers aren't really new, but for our area this is a pilot for intergenerational activities," Signoriello said. "We're also a landmark case for reuse of old school buildings."

The school was built in 1920.

"There's definitely a need," she said. "There's a large number of senior citizens in the community and there are gaps in the programming here. A lot of older people live alone and they're lonely. They've lost communication with family."

Signoriello hopes the facility can offer transportation service to seniors.

What to expect: Programs will include distance-learning where people at the center may view and hear a speaker from another location, such as Youngstown State University, via a television screen. Arts and crafts, tutoring, life skills classes and exercise classes also are included in the center's offerings.

"We're working with the Girard Library to have a full-service library here," Signoriello said.

Information and referral services, support groups and GED courses and remedial tutoring also are planned. A community room will be used for group meetings and a parlor offers puzzles and a place to sit and unwind.

Volunteer opportunities include greeters, coffee bar hosts, mentors, reading tutors and people to assist with crafts and socialization activities.

People are getting anxious for the new center to open, the program director said.

"I live in the community, and every day a senior is asking when it's going to open or how things are coming along," she said.




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