Plans to build a community technology center at Roxbury Central School can proceed thanks to a state grant obtained by Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, several of those involved said.
Seward announced the $100,000 in state assistance at Roxbury Central School on Friday.
This helps to create a vision that began when 1949 graduate Guy Numann donated $250,000 in April 2012 to build the Numann Media and Technology Center, to honor his family, Roxbury Superintendent Tom O’Brien said.
The project is a partnership between the Greater Roxbury Learning Initiative Corp. (GRLIC) and the school. GRLIC is an educational foundation whose mission is to encourage a prosperous sustainable future through education and experience in science, technology, engineering and innovation. It will be built at no expense to district taxpayers.
“We put it out to bid and found we couldn’t afford it,” O’Brien said. Numann donated another $75,000 with the understanding that additional funding would be secured by other means. Despite the foundation’s efforts, which raised more than $400,000 in grants and other donations, the project was still not funded when O’Brien approached Seward about eight months ago. The result, O’Brien said, was “this wonderful announcement.”
The center will be located in a current basement storage area in the school. It will have a separate entrance so it can be used by the community when the school is closed.
“We want to make this a hub for the whole area,” he said.
GRLIC Executive Director Jen Schuman said “we are really excited” that Seward was able to “step up and help out.”
The construction is expected to start in the summer so the project can be ready by next school year. After use during the school day, it will be open to students and community that needs the computers and other resources.
GRLIC has a partnership with State University College of Technology at Delhi, for support and classes, including adult education, Schuman said. Gilboa-Conesville, South Kortright and Andes Central School District has also expressed an interest in being involved, she said.
Seward said the school was fortunate to receive Numann’s major gift.
“I responded to a terrific effort to close the digital divide” that puts rural areas at a disadvantage in receiving Internet services, he said. “We were able to do that, not only for Roxbury (Central School) but the community as a whole.”