Butts County will hold a Grand Opening ceremony today with an open house to follow, beginning at noon in its new location on Ernest Biles Drive. The new center, formerly the home of the Jackson-Butts County Child Development Center, will now house all senior citizen programs in a much larger and improved space but will still be a part of the Recreation Department campus. The program had previously been housed in the Ernest Biles Youth Center located adjacent to the new location. Over the years, growth in both recreation and senior programs had created a severe shortage of space in the Youth Center. Programs for the Senior Citizens had been largely confined to one common room and a couple of small offices since the Youth Center opened in the mid 1990’s.
In late June, the Board of Directors of the Child Development Center notified the County Administrator that they had made the decision not to reopen the center in the Fall of 2012 due to declining enrollment and cuts made to their programs by the State. The building occupied by the Child Development Center was constructed in the 1990’s with funds obtained from grants but has always been owned and maintained by the County. “While we were sad to lose the Child Development Center and what they brought to the community, this did solve a twofold problem we have been faced with for some time” said County Administrator Michael Brewer. “Our senior citizens were completely out of room in the Youth Center and our Recreation Department staff was using office space for storage more often than not. This opportunity will provide the senior citizens with a lot more space and hopefully will attract new participants to the programs they will now be able to offer. It will also help Leisure Services Director Jim Herbert and his staff to make better use of the Youth Center with the additional space this will free up there” he added.
The repurposed facility, located to the left of the tennis courts, has additional space for classrooms where educational programs of value to seniors can be held, as well as a computer room where seniors can check email and become familiar with computers and how they work. The former playground will be incorporated into the recreation park as an additional playground for smaller children.
Work to convert the center to its new purpose was handled primary by the Butts County Building Department with assistance from the Recreation Department Maintenance Division and inmates from the State of Georgia Department of Corrections.
Butts County invites the public to attend the grand opening and to tour the facility. A ceremony of dedication will be held during the open house, with refreshments and tours provided by the Leisure Services Department. These will continue on until 2:00 PM.