The Martha’s Vineyard Family Center, which has offered free classes, play groups and educational support to Island families with young children for 16 years, will relocate from the regional high school to the Nathan Mayhew Seminar campus in Vineyard Haven in the fall.
“We’re very excited to have a new home,” said Nell Coogan, development director for Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, on Friday. “We think it’s going to be a great spot.”
Operated by Community Services, the center has been looking for a new home for the past year since it was notified by the high school that it would lose its space there. The center has used the high school space rent-free, as part of the school’s early childhood education vocational program. Due to low enrollment, school administrators decided two years ago to phase out the program by 2014. Beginning next year the school plans to use the Family Center space for other programs.
The new location will be in the Stephen Carey Luce House on North William street, which is part of the Nathan Mayhew Seminars campus.
Founded in 1976, the campus once served as an institute of higher learning, hosting college classes and lectures through partnerships with universities. The Seminars has been dormant for about 10 years, and the buildings are in a state of disrepair. Two years ago businessmen Chuck Hughes and Rubin Cronig announced plans to revive the campus. Tisbury voters have since approved spending Community Preservation Act money to help renovate the buildings.
After reading an article in the Gazette about the restoration efforts, Ms. Coogan said she approached Mr. Hughes and Mr. Cronig about the idea of moving the Family Center to Vineyard Haven.
She said Mr. Hughes and Mr. Cronig have been “gracious and generous” throughout the process.
She said the center hopes to move soon after Labor Day to coincide with the start of the school year, though renovations will still be in progress. “Details are still being worked out,” Ms. Coogan said. The center will lease the entire building, and pay some rent. Free programs will not be affected, she said.
“We’re very excited to start working with some other community organizations . . . and make it into a great area, inside and out,” Ms. Coogan said.