|Public Information Office
310 Owen Hall, Campus PO 1820
Asheville, NC 28804-8507
828/251/6526 FAX: 828/251-6777
|For Immediate Release
December 5, 2001
N.C. Center for Creative Retirement Ready to Break
Ground December 8;
UNC Asheville’s award-winning educational program for older adults, North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement (NCCCR), will hold a ground breaking ceremony and celebration from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, on the UNCA campus. With its theme, "A Place to Call Home," NCCCR has reached its goal to raise $3.9 million to construct a 20,000 sq. ft. classroom building on a 5.5-acre site on the campus. The building, Reuter Center, will be paid for with private funds raised from NCCCR participants, foundations, friends of NCCCR, and area businesses.
Reuter Center will enable NCCCR to continue expanding its programs such as the College for Seniors, Leadership Asheville Seniors, Behind the Scene Tours, Intergenerational Co-Learning, and its numerous volunteer service programs, notes NCCCR director Ron Manheimer. Over 1600 people annually participate in NCCCR programs and the number is expected to rise dramatically as the surge of retiring Baby Boomers floods into the area. For the 14 years since its inception, NCCCR has used classroom and office space in various campus buildings. The Reuter Center marks the first time all programs will be brought under one roof.
According to fund raising chair Alice Green, over 650 households (more than 1,000 individuals) have contributed to the successful campaign. "For many," said Green, "the Center has been an unexpected boon to their retirement years."
Campaign co-chairs, Beth Lazer and Dorothy Murphree, agree. "For many of us, the opportunity to continue to learn and even to teach one another, has revitalized our lives," says Murphree. "Older people have so much they want to give back to the community," added Lazer. The new building, with its computer lab, art studio, technology enhanced classrooms, large multipurpose room, cafe, meeting rooms, offices, and commons areas will function as a "student center" for older learners.
"We expect UNCA undergrads will also use the building," adds Manheimer. NCCCR has sponsored numerous intergenerational classes that bring young and old together to examine both timeless issues and major changes in American society and the world.
Manheimer says the Reuter Center will allow NCCCR to offer classes, workshops, seminars and conferences both day and night. "The trend is for people to retire, take a short break, and then go back to work, usually part time," explains Manheimer. "So more and more people will want evening and weekend programs as well as the weekday daytime ones."
NCCCR is well known for integrating lifelong learning with leadership and volunteer service programs. It has been featured twice in the N.Y. Times, Monitor, and in other newspapers and magazines. Visitors from as far away as Japan and Spain have traveled to Asheville to learn how to replicate it. "Now we will have an actual physical center to show them," says Manheimer.
Reuter Center was designed by John Rogers Associates, a local architectural firm. General Contractor will be Cooper Construction Co. of Hendersonville. Planners expect the building to be ready for occupancy in the spring of 2003.
With shovels in hand, the ground breakers will assemble on the already graded site located beside UNCA’s Health and Fitness Center at 3 p.m. Saturday for a rain-or-shine outdoor ceremony. Then festivities continue indoors in the Owen Conference Center where more details about the building will be presented. "This is a chance for our supporters to celebrate three long years of hard work," says Murphree, who adds that some additional funds still need to be raised for furnishings. "We’re calling that extended part of the campaign ‘A Place to Sit Down,’" laughs Murphree. "We’ll need about another $350,000 by the time the building opens."
For more information about NCCCR, call 828/251-6140.
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