Castleton group hopes to turn barn into wellness center

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(Host) For ten years, the Castleton Community Center has been providing a wide range of services and classes – many geared for seniors.

But because of limited space, the center was having trouble meeting demand – especially for exercise classes.

As VPR’s Nina Keck reports, administrators hope to solve that problem by transforming a historic barn into a modern-day wellness center.

(Keck) Located in a stately white house, built in 1860, the Castleton Community Center looks a lot like a historic museum. But inside, the restored parlors and living rooms are set up for computer classes, knitting groups, local meetings and pot luck suppers. Jo Ann Riley is the Center’s executive director.

(Riley) "What we find is many of our fitness classes, the health classes, involve movement and the interest in those classes is growing. So we have 10, sometimes as many 15 people in some of these classes and you can’t do that in these small rooms."

(Keck) Riley says a lot more seniors want to take tai chi and yoga; they want to prevent osteoperosis, improve their balance, and learn how to better manage their chronic diseases.

These are all courses the community center now provides. But by renovating the historic barn out back, Riley says they’ll be able to greatly expand their wellness programs.

(Riley) "We have about $41,000 in grants that we’ve received so far and with member donations our total is at $77,000 so far."

(Keck) Riley says they’ll need $190,000 to complete the project. To make up the difference, she says they’ll continue seeking out grants and community support.

(Riley) "So, we’re pretty confident – I think the board is feeling very good about the $77,000. We had targeted $50,000 for our fundraising efforts for 2007 and we’re ahead of that."

(Keck) If all goes as planned, Jo Ann Riley says construction will start in September and end by next spring.

For VPR News, I’m Nina Keck in Castleton.

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