Rec & Ed gets new home at Pioneer

From AAPSNews Service

When the Ann Arbor Community Education and Recreation Department moves into different offices this week, the program will be more centrally located to serve residents and it will save money on rent.

Sara Aeshbach visits the space undergoing renovation at Pioneer High School that will become the new home for Community Education and Recreation. The department opens there on Feb. 2.
Sara Aeshbach visits the space undergoing renovation at Pioneer High School that will become the new home for Community Education and Recreation. The department opens there on Feb. 2.

The busy department has moved from rented office space south of Eisenhower Parkway to a new location in the “E” Wing of Pioneer High School. Staff will serve residents from offices located on the west side of the building, just off of Seventh Street.

“It’s really helpful to be in school-owned property,” said Sara Aeschbach, director of Community Education and Recreation. “It will be centrally located and so handy for people.”

About 40 staff members will work in the 10-000-square-foot space that was renovated with voter-approved tax dollars from the 2004 bond issue and 2005 sinking fund. It is light and colorful and is designed with pre-fabricated walls which will allow flexibility of space.

Staff will be at the new location to conduct business on Tuesday, Feb. 2 after being closed for several days for the move. Regular hours for the department remain 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but there will be a 24/7 drop box available in the lobby area for customers to drop off registrations.

Aeschbach said the move also puts the department within the Pioneer community, where many class offerings take place. “It will help our relations with Pioneer staff and allow us to work out arrangements better,” she added.

The Pioneer location also gives the department a permanent home. Before moving to the Eisenhower Place location 4 1/2 years ago, the staff had been housed in a variety of locations including Allen and Lawton elementary schools, Stone School, the former Balas III building and in former district-owned space on North Maple Road.

She said the new space will give the department a place to store sports equipment for classes and leagues, which has in the recent past been stored at the Balas Administration Building on State Street.

Aeschbach said her department is different than others in the district because it serves such a wide variety of people. “I like people to know this is the part of the school district that serves the entire community, from newborns all the way up until they are seniors,” she said. “It’s really designed to be something for everybody.”

Community Education and Recreation programs must be able to collect enough money to fund themselves, Aeschbach said. In-kind contributions include use of schools and city parks and office space to operate the programs. Fees are two-tiered: One level is for in-district residents and slightly more is charged to those living out of the Ann Arbor Public Schools who want to take classes. Rental of most AAPS facilities also is handled through this department.

Offerings include a variety of leisure and sports programs and leagues, youth team sports and camps, lifelong learning classes for youth and adults, First Steps, tuition-based preschool and before- and after-school child care programs. Scholarships also are available for low-income residents.

The “E” Wing at Pioneer is accessible off of South Seventh Street between Main Street and Scio Church Road. Visitors will use a new, separate entrance near the tennis courts, which will be well marked with a large rooftop sign. The address is 1515 S. Seventh St., Ann Arbor.

For information, visit the Web or call 734-994-2300. Online registration is also available.

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