Griswold Youth Center on the move to new digs at Slater Mall
By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Mon., Jul. 8, 2013
It’s a summer of transition for the Griswold Youth Center, which is moving into new digs around the corner at Slater Mill Mall this month. Its new space is the ground-floor storefront formerly occupied by Mad Science.
“We’re pretty much moving in a little at a time. We’re waiting for someone to come with a trailer to bring the pool table up,” said staff member Brandon Rhoades, who was leading a painting crew on July 1, getting the place spruced up for the new occupants. A new rack holding pool balls and cues was already hung on one wall, which was in the process of getting its second coat of bright blue paint. “Me and Jeremy stayed here all night doing the trim,” he said. “I did all that cutting in freehand.”
While the fanciful Mad Science mural that adorns one wall is going to stay, the teens are already making their own mark on the space. A dividing wall has been lowered to provide a more open floor plan, fresh paint in brilliant colors decorates the walls, and a couple of new brown leather sofas are already in place and undergoing avid and vigorous “testing” by Youth Center teens. “I was one of the first people to sit on it,” bragged Matthew Longest.
Youth Center Director Ryan Aubin said that the new, approximately 2,700-square-foot space is a big improvement over the old one, which the center has occupied for at least a decade. “It’s more space on paper, and it’s all usable space,” he said of the new location. “In the old building there were areas we couldn’t use. This is all one area and you can see across the entire room.”
There are other practical advantages as well, Aubin said. “We’re going to be saving on utilities, so the money that used to go to output on heat can go towards programs [for the kids]," he said. “In the old building, we were fighting against leaking. The new place is insulated on all four walls. The rug is there, so there’s no more cleaning with chemicals.” The overall appearance is also more inviting for teens and their families, he said.
Transferring all the furniture, as well as phone and Internet service, will be a long process, Aubin said, but the target date for taking full possession of the new space is July 15.