VICENZA, Italy - Just in time for back-to-school activities, the Villaggio Youth Center officially re-opened its doors Sept. 5 with a barbecue and dance for youth in grades 6-12 at U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza, Italy.

The renovation project, which began in January at a cost of 214,000 euro - roughly $340,000 - was completed in phases, allowing youth activities like SKIESUnlimited to continue offering classes.

"These renovations were important to bring the facility in line with current fire, health and safety standards," said Eric Weisel, Child and Youth Services coordinator. "We also wanted to repair damage to the floor and ventilation system; to upgrade the facility to improve the appearance and make it more user-friendly and comfortable for our youth."

Weisel added that the project "was also an important gesture by the command to let the youth of the Vicenza community know that [leadership] truly cares about the quality of life and programs for youth."

Additionally, he said, "the building ... is now very welcoming. The kitchen and eating area, as well as gym, dance room and bathrooms have all been upgraded."

"The kids were really excited to see the renovation to the tennis and basketball courts," said Michael Morris, Youth Services director. "There are new lights, a handball court and the small playing field has been leveled and resurfaced."

While the renovation was underway, Zev Paul, associate for Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, visited in April. He came away particularly impressed with the dance studio and waiting area, writing in his report: "It's very comfortable for parents with children, plus the large observation windows make it easy for parents to view their children without infringing on the privacy of the class. This is now a perfect dance studio model for SKIESUnlimited."

"The Vicenza Youth Program has a quality staff that runs quality programming," said Weisel. "Now they will have quality facilities to go along with it."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16