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Park Commission, WCDS Partner For Community Education Center

Elizabeth Hofreuter, left, head of school at Wheeling Country Day School, speaks with David Lindelow, president and CEO of the Wheeling Park Commission, prior to their announcement the two entities would partner in the establishment of a community learning center at the W.E. Stone Building at Wheeling Park.

WHEELING — The Wheeling Park Commission and Wheeling Country Day School have announced a partnership that begins the reinvention of the W.E. Stone Building at Wheeling Park as a community learning center.

David Lindelow, president and CEO of the Wheeling Park Commission, told those gathering for the announcement outside the building Tuesday the commission realizes it must start to engage a new generation. Events such as roller skating and teen dances are no longer bringing visitors to the park.

“Over time, some of our programs have become less in favor,” he said.

Lindelow said the commission did research, and found out there were two areas where the park could provide help in the community.

There are needs for a community health and medical center, and for a community education center, he said.

WCDS is the first to sign on as a partner in the community education center, where rooms will be made available to businesses and organizations wanting to establish classroom learning facilities, satellite offices and headquarters.

Wheeling Hospital soon could be a second partner, according to Lindelow.

“We’ve spoken to Doug Harrison (CEO of Wheeling Hospital), and they do a lot of on-campus training,” he said. “Mr. Harrison has expressed an interest in relieving some of the traffic at the hospital complex, and potentially using this as a site to do off-site training.”

There are three large rooms in the building, and room to work with a number of businesses or organizations, he said.

The partnership between the park commission and WCDS is between two well-established entities, as both have been in operation for more than 90 years.

WCDS has plans to host classes from preschool to eighth grade at the community learning center.

Hofreuter said WCDS always has had an outdoor classroom, and staff and students are now excited to have a branch learning center within Wheeling Park.

This will enable students the opportunity to take part in educational opportunities the park provides.

“One of our projects is to teach the kids about physics,” she said. “Instead of doing that in a text book, we’re actually going to take them to the playground and understand the physics of the teeter totter or swings.

“We are looking forward to playing mini-golf — not to win or lose — but to understand the actual angles you have to hit to get the ball in the hole.”

WCDS staff plans to develop a curriculum for education at Wheeling Park to share with other interested schools.

When there is purpose to education, it makes it more enjoyable and more important to the student, according to Hofreuter.

Darryn McCormick, a student at WCDS, said he was excited about the outdoor learning possibilities at Wheeling Park.

“We don’t have to learn at home anymore,” he said. “We can get outside, see our classmates and enjoy learning.”

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