As I scan the number of community events, educational conferences, cultural events and school related activities that have taken place and will take place in the coming weeks at The Centre, Rolla’s 63,000-square-foot health and recreation complex, the first thing that comes to mind is that The Centre, which has recently surpassed the 1.5 million visit mark to the facility, is so much more than fitness.
Just last Saturday, March 19 at The Centre, several members of the Rolla community, including many whom were grandparents, attended what has become the annual Grand-Family Informational Gathering - a day-long free seminar co-hosted by AARP Missouri, The Centre and the University of Missouri Extension. Beginning this Monday, March 28 the annual “Spring Break-out”, a week-long program designed for kids age 6-13 during Rolla Public School’s official week of Spring Break, will be held March 28 through Friday, April 1 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parents will be able to drop off their kids at 7:30 a.m. and pick them up as late as 5:30 p.m. To register or receive more information, stop by The Centre (1200 N. Holloway Street), or call 573-341-2FUN. The fee for Spring Breakout is $125 for the week, with Centre members receiving a $25 discount. Each additional child from the same family is only $85 for the week.
Looking toward the month of April, the annual Fine Arts Day 2011 will be co-hosted by Rolla High School art students, RHS art teachers, Kent Jewelry and staff at The Centre on Friday, April 8 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The popular and well attended event includes a jewelry exhibition, demonstrations and student designed jewelry auction. The purpose of the event is to expose area students to how the creative process can be applied with real life results; demonstrate to students the importance of giving back to their community and to raise funds and awareness for the United Way of South Central Missouri. Questions about this event may be directed to Kent Bagnall at Kent Jewelry at 364-1030 or Carolyn Peplow at the Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce, at 364-3577.
Last month during the month of February Arts Rolla, which hosts several art shows, photographic exhibits, and receptions for local artists who display their work at The Centre, presented the work of several artists with the art group, Local Color. Original art by Arts Rolla artists is continually on display at The Centre where the exhibit changes monthly. In fact, an opening reception is held by Arts Rolla each month on the first Friday of the month between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend the reception, meet the artists and enjoy the reception.
Arts Rolla and The Centre will also be hosting the Youth Art Exhibit, which will feature original artwork created by students ages pre-school through high school at The Centre. Interested students may bring their artwork to The Centre on Friday, April 1, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The art exhibit will include 2-dimensional paper artwork which will be pinned to a cloth that hangs on the wall in The Centre lobby, and 3-dimensional small artworks which will be displayed in the glass case near the entry doors of The Centre. It is requested that each student attach their name, age, title of work, school, and city to each piece of artwork. Each artist will be limited to exhibit two works of art. For more information, please call Arts Rolla at 364-5539 or Jan Roberts at 364-2841.
Later in the month of April, on Saturday, April 23 Breakfast with the Bunny, an annual event held every Easter at The Centre, begins at 8 a.m. Arts Rolla and The Centre provide fun activities for children. The event is free and open to the public.
The list of community events, activities, programs and outreach opportunities held throughout the year at The Centre go on and on, including the annual free Health Fair sponsored by Phelps County Regional Medical Center and attended by hundreds of residents in October; the annual Halloween Costume Contest, Photos with Santa during Christmas, and let’s not forget the nationally recognized summer Licking Basketball and Volleyball tournaments that provide great sporting opportunities and entertainment for literally thousands of youth during a period of six weekends in the gymnasiums at The Centre. The Licking tournaments have reported to attract upwards of 15,000 visitors who spend hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in the Rolla area on hotels, restaurants, fuel, shopping and entertainment.
For the sake of time and space, I have left off several other community events and activities held throughout the year at The Centre, but I think it is fairly evident from the above mentioned activities and events, that The Centre is so much more than fitness. It’s also very much about community, education, art, culture, wellness, health, and recreation for all ages.
In closing, I’d like to remind everyone the City of Rolla Environmental Services Department will hold the City-wide Clean Up on Saturday, April 2. If you wish to participate, we ask that you please place all items near the curb by 6 a.m. Common acceptable items include furniture, beds, toys, microwaves, and televisions, boxed or bagged trash. Unacceptable items include major appliances, construction or demolition debris, and loose trash. Loose items should be placed in boxes or bags and small pieces of lumber should be bundled. We ask that you do not place your roll-out container to the curb, because during this special clean-up it will not be emptied. If you have any questions, please call the Environmental Services Department at 364-6693.
I would also like to remind everyone to exercise your democratic right to vote during the Rolla Municipal General Election on Tuesday, April 5. The election will include Proposition A – the proposed ½ Cent Park Sales Tax that is endorsed by the Rolla City Council. Have a safe week! And don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, April 5.