Thursday, November 20, 2008

504 Will Become Family Success Center

In local shorthand, “504” was the historic Madison Avenue building that had become the seat of school board and district offices. The 19th century site was vacated in August after new Schools Superintendent Steve Gallon III decided to consolidate all administrative offices in the former Jefferson School at 1200 Myrtle Avenue.

At Tuesday’s school board business meeting, 504’s future was spelled out. As explained by staff members Anna Belin-Pyles, Denise Shipman and Gary Ottmann, the Family Success Center currently housed in the North Building of Plainfield High School will relocate to 504 Madison and with other agencies will become “one of the largest comprehensive one-stop support centers.”

Among its resources will be access to education, training, employment, family literacy, referrals to mental health and substance abuse programs, youth development and many other services. Eight agencies will be involved, including United Way, Proceeds Inc., The Union County Youth Services Bureau and Union County Vo-Tech and the New Jersey Youth Corps.

Ottmann traced a timeline that calls for facility improvements leading up to an April 2009 open house. Because the phone system was relocated to 1200 Myrtle Avenue, a new one must be installed. Other upgrades include restroom improvements, painting, flooring repairs and making the site handicapped accessible.

Once known as Whittier School, the building dates back to 1898, according to Shipman. According to its status, it cannot be used for educational purposes, Gallon said. School board member Patricia Barksdale questioned whether the support program could be expanded to the Lincoln School building, but Gallon said he wanted to reserve existing educational buildings for educational purposes.

Lincoln School formerly contained an alternative school program which has since been moved to the so-called “swing school” building at 1700 West Front Street and re-named the Plainfield Academy for Academic & Civic Development.

In his three-year strategic plan, Gallon has proposed a new school, the Plainfield Academy for Arts & Advanced Studies, which may possibly end up being located in the Lincoln School.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Bernice for bringing out such positive news.

The faith of 504 was beginning to produce too much speculation, like nothing else does in this city, right?

Anyway, it seems that 504 Madison Ave., is already a success for the school district with the partnerships that you are mentioning in your post about it.

Bravo to the school district!

Maria Pellum

10:34 AM  

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