YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday for the construction of the Mahoning Valley Lifelong Learning Institute at Park Vista Retirement Community on Youngstown’s north side.
The learning center, aimed at residents 50 and older, started in February 2014 but has been without a permanent home.
The community has raised $1 million to build the Gelhaar Center that will help facilitate learning for those at the retirement center. The Gelhaar Center is named for the late Charlotte C. Gelhaar. It will be an addition to the east side of Park Vista’s gathering room on Fifth Avenue, across from Wick Park.
The Center will include an atrium, additional restrooms and classrooms with state-of-the-art technology to aid those with vision or hearing difficulties and provide access to virtual learning. Attached to it will be an enclosed sculpture garden featuring works from local and regional artists. The first piece has been commissioned by Park Vista residents Roger and Gloria Jones, founders of the Ow Wow! Children’s Museum in downtown Youngstown.
Shandor said a five-year plan is in place to grow endowment funds for programming in the Institute’s four-lecture series: The Harris Lecture Series on History and Political Science; The Gelhaar Lecture Series on Arts and Culture; The Kyle Lecture Series on Religion and Spirituality; and the Wellness and Rehabilitation Lecture Series. The lectures are funded by donors.
The Mahoning Valley Lifelong Learning Institute has relationships with the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County and Youngstown State University.
The thought of a new center first came six years ago and directors said the center perfectly aligns with Park Vista’s mission.
“It is a great outreach for Park Vista. We have always been involved in healthy active aging, and I really always thought that we have had an expertise in that,” Park Vista Executive Director Brian Kolenich said.
Construction on the new building will begin next month and will take six months to complete. Youngstown mayor John McNally spoke at the ceremony.