City of Rochester
(Monday, Oct. 5, 2009) – A host of dignitaries and elected officials gathered today to dedicate the opening of the new Thomas P. Ryan Jr. Community Center, The Rochester Public Library and Audubon School No. 33.
The combined school, library and community center began operations at the beginning of the 2009-10 school year after more than six years of planning and collaboration among the City, the Rochester City School District and the Rochester Public Library with input from community leaders and neighborhood groups. Construction began in the fall of 2007.
The Community Center is named in memory of Mayor Thomas P. Ryan, Jr., who served as the City’s Mayor between 1974 and 1993, both in an appointed role, and then later as its first elected CEO. Mayor Ryan lived on nearby Rocket Street, with his wife Charlotte and daughter Mary Beth. His concern and affection for the city’s youth and young adults were legendary.
Present at the ribbon cutting ceremony were: U.S. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter; Mayor Robert J. Duffy; State Sen. Joseph E. Robach; Assemblyman Joseph D. Morelle; Board of Education President Malik Evans; Superintendent of Schools Jean-Claude Brizard; Patricia Uttaro, Director of the Rochester Public Library; Larry Ellison, Principal of School 33; Rochester Public Library Board President Richard L. Hamilton; and Lois Giess Past President of the City Council.
“This is an exciting day – the opening of the Thomas P. Ryan, Jr. Community Center,” Mayor Duffy said. “This project has been long in the making and it is a fitting tribute to one of our city’s greatest leaders. Mayor Ryan had a deep love for books, learning, children, and above all, our community.”
“The Ryan Center/Audubon School 33 campus is nothing short of a jewel in northeast Rochester,” said Superintendent Brizard. “In partnership with the City of Rochester, the Rochester City School District is proud to offer our students and families this outstanding facility that brings state-of-the-art educational and recreational resources to the community. We know that in its brand new home, Audubon School No. 33 will continue to shine as a leader in student achievement.”
“The library space is wonderful,” said Library Director Uttaro. “It has been packed since the day it opened and we are very thankful to the donors and everyone who made this project a reality.”
The facility combines under one roof the former Webster Avenue Recreation Center, an expanded Audubon School No. 33 and the Sully Branch Library. The Community Center and library offer a 40,000 sq. ft. facility that is contiguous to the newly renovated 155,000 sq. ft. Audubon School No. 33.
The new Ryan Center allows for shared gymnasiums and community meeting room space for both the school and the surrounding neighborhoods. Some of the highlights include a football field and basketball courts, along with a tennis court and three Little League baseball fields. The library has more room for shelving space for books, media and periodicals. The Community Center features a new gymnasium, a teen media room, art and game room, as well as community classrooms and meeting space. The expanded school enables enhanced academic programs and increases support services, including a new school health clinic.
The $36.5 million project included $30.3 million in School District financing, $4.8 million in City and Library funding, $1.4 million in private fundraising and grants, as well as federal and state funds secured by Congresswoman Slaughter and Assemblyman Morelle.
Kathy Nixon, Executive Director of the Rundel Library Foundation, was in charge of fundraising for the project. Major donors included the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation; the Gleason Foundation and the Xerox Corporation.
The design work was completed by Stantec Architecture, Inc. and The Pike Company performed the construction.
News Media: For further information, please contact Gary Walker at 428-7405.