NEW CASTLE SRU will build center geared to help people

A temporary community center is expected to open sometime before November.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Slippery Rock University officials are set to unveil plans for a 16,500-square-foot community center planned for New Castle's east side.
The plans are part of a two-year effort by the university to establish programs to help residents, especially children and senior citizens. The center will be built on land donated by Lawrence County on Court Street.
It will become home to an after-school tutoring program that has bounced around from location to location since it was started in 1997.
Other programs will be added after getting input from neighborhood residents, said Alice Kaiser-Drobney, director of the university's Institute for Community Service Learning and Nonprofit Leadership.
SRU was able to get grants from the state and New Castle to hire an architect to draw up plans for the center.
Those plans, which will be on display Wednesday at an invitation-only reception, were influenced by community members who were asked what is needed in their neighborhood, said Kaiser-Drobney.
She said the estimated cost to build the community center is $2.5 million. The university is seeking donations from individuals as well as private and public grants, she said.
Temporary center
Until the center can be built, Kaiser-Drobney said they expect to open a temporary community center sometime before November.
They have been looking at buying a home on Court Street near the land the county commissioners donated to the project about two years ago, she said.
The owner of the home has allowed the university to use it for the reception Wednesday, but the deal on the sale hasn't been finalized, she said.
Kaiser-Drobney said university officials also will be in the community this week asking residents what service and programs they want in the community center.
She said they are open to suggestions and have already been told by residents that they want classes for the General Equivalency Degree.
"We are going to follow the lead of whatever the community wants," she said.

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