Nurse center, gaming room for teens latest offerings at Westside Community Center

       The Westside Community Center has two new offerings this fall - a neighborhood nurse center and the Loft, a gaming room for teens.

A youngster makes use of the large screen that's provided in the Westside Community Center's new Loft electronic gaming room.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Also, the former Hughes Gymnasium has been renamed Hughes Hall, to befit the Community Center's plans to rent it for uses beyond just indoor sports.
       Nurse Center - Slated to open Oct. 3, the nurse center will provide free opportunities for people needing administrative help in “navigating the health system,” explained Cynthia Wacker, community outreach coordinator for the Penrose-St. Francis Mission Outreach.
       Although advertised in the center brochure as a “clinic,” it will not be staffed initially with health providers nor will any drugs be kept on site, Wacker pointed out. However, this could change depending on community response and needs, she said.
       An exception will be times when flu vaccines will be provided. People can also get basic health screenings. Other services will include health education and referrals, Wacker said.
       Located in the cottage next to the Billie Spielman Center, the Nurse Center is scheduled to be open Mondays to Thursdays from 4 to 6:30 p.m.
       Grants for the service came from the Osborne Trust Fund and Garden of the Gods Rotary Club, according to Dick Siever, the center director.
       The Loft - The Woodmen Valley Chapel admittedly hasn't had a great deal of luck so far at providing popular programs for teens since working out a lease agreement with the city for the Community Center a year and a half ago. So the center leadership recently put together a “focus group” of middle and high schoolers and asked what they thought.
       The result is the Loft, a free electronic gaming room that is available to kids in grades 5 to 12 Monday through Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. this fall.
       Located upstairs in the Community Center's middle building, the room features such systems as PSP2, Xbox and Game Cube. Siever said the hope is that the teens “will come in, relax after school and have a good time.”
       The activities will be supervised by “adult facilitators,” and participants will be issued cards, he said. Although homework completion is not a requirement before playing, the center will be sensitive to any academic concerns raised by parents or teachers, Siever added.
       Hughes Hall - Thanks to a $10,000 technological upgrade through the El Pomar Foundation that updated the Community Center as a whole, the hall now has a new projection and sound system that makes the location viable for rental for a variety of purposes requiring sophisticated electronic capabilities, Siever said. The gym/hall was named for Westside civic leader/historian Dave Hughes.

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