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Turin community center set to open during after-school hours

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TURIN — The Christian Community Center is putting the finishing touches on its gymnasium, with plans to open it for after-school activities next week.

“We would like to see this facility used a lot,” said the Rev. Brian D. Siegrist, pastor of the group that is developing the 9,500-square-foot center. “It was built to be used.”

An open house will be held from 2:30 to 9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the center, across from the South Lewis middle-high school building on East Road. The free event will include pizza and snacks, movies, music, volleyball and other games.

Then, starting Monday, the center — whose 4,100-square-foot building includes a kitchen and a couple of classrooms, with an attached 5,400-square-foot gymnasium — will be open from 2:30 to 5:10 p.m. each school day.

While there will be no formal after-school program, children and youths will be able to come over and play volleyball, table games like ping pong and foosball and utilize several pieces of exercise equipment, the Rev. Mr. Siegrist said.

Basketball hoops will be added, although an official court is not planned, he said.

A quiet study area also will be offered, and homework help may be provided “as we are able,” the Rev. Mr. Siegrist said.

Snacks also will be offered.

Plans are to have three adults — representing both genders — on hand at all times to supervise during the after-school hours, the Rev. Mr. Siegrist said.

The roughly 35-person Christian Community Center congregation, which bought the land in 2010 and began construction in July 2012, finished off the main building in time for a grand opening and service on Easter Sunday.

However, the group — which had met for the previous several years at the Alpine Restaurant in Constableville while planning and raising funds for the building project — still had to complete extensive work on the interior of the gymnasium before it could be utilized.

The Rev. Mr. Siegrist, who on Monday was blowing insulation into the attic of the gym section with other group members, said the walls, ceiling and even floor of the facility have been heavily insulated in hopes of keeping upkeep costs as low as possible.

“We tried to build something energy efficient,” he said.

The building also includes a ventilation system that circulates in fresh air but captures most of the heat from stale air before it is released.

Along with having a place to hold services, the group’s plan was always to construct something that “blesses the greater community” by providing more activities for area youths and families, as well as an additional venue to hold weddings, funerals or other community gatherings, the Rev. Mr. Siegrist said.

Hosting a community volleyball night has been discussed, and the hope is to continually find more uses for the facility, he said.

Group members have also discussed eventual outdoor additions like a playground, volleyball court, athletic fields and even a cross country ski trail on their 25-acre property, which includes an 8-acre wooded portion.

Worship services are held at the center at 10 a.m. each Sunday, and a Thanksgiving Day service is also planned there at 10 a.m. Nov. 28.

Anyone with suggestions on possible uses or who wishes to use the facility for an upcoming function can contact the Rev. Mr. Siegrist at 771-7968.

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