Named in honor for a man who has served his town and his nation, the Paul M. Spiegel Building Pittsford Community Center reopened to the public on Saturday, August 25 after a year’s worth of renovations, the planning of which began four years ago.
Spiegel, the former Town of Pittsford Supervisor and a World War II veteran, cut the ribbon at the building’s grand reopening. The ribbon-cutting culminated a short ceremony that featured remarks by current Town of Pittsford Supervisor Bill Smith, Spiegel himself, Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo, New York State Senator Rich Funke and New York State Assemblyman Joe Errigo.
The renovations cost over $10 million.
The community center building was built in 1916 and served as Pittsford’s only school building for many years. After other schools, such as Pittsford Sutherland High School were completed, the building was known as the Lincoln Avenue Elementary School until it was closed in the early 1970s and later purchased by the town for use as a recreation center.
Smith noted in his remarks how proud he was that residents decided in a referendum to rehab the century-old structure instead of building a new building on land elsewhere in the town.
The renovations include a new lobby with street level access from the parking lot at the back and a spacious elevator that will take visitors to any of the renovated rooms in the three floors of the building. One of the rooms has been renovated to look like a classroom that greeted a student in 1916 and some old photos and newspapers found in cubbies, drawers and walls during the renovation’s demolition process have been preserved. Upgrades were made to the building’s gymnasium and a new playground was also installed. Many of the rooms are now multi-purpose rooms that could handle karate classes, ballet classes, etc. while others are more like classrooms for smaller group meetings.
While allowing for expansion for childcare and youth programs, perhaps the biggest expansion will be for senior programs as the building will now be able to accommodate the town’s senior citizen programs with a kitchen, a multi-purpose room connected to the kitchen and a smaller “55+ room” that has books, puzzles, a couple of computers and a printer and several comfortable chairs. Smith stated that bringing the senior center programs to the community center will save town residents money as those programs were previously held in a facility that the town rented.