BALTIMORE — Now that students across Baltimore are back in class, Saint Francis neighborhood center is aiming to add additional support for students after school.
For years, Torbin Green used every square inch to accommodate students at this facility and now that they’re about to open up next month he couldn’t be more excited.
The sound of construction sounds like progress for Torbin Green who’s spent nearly a decade at the Saint Francis community center where he’s the programs director.
After a three years of stalled out construction and of course a global pandemic the center was out of operation.
But the staff took that hiatus as an opportunity to expand.
“During COVID we got this built and we look forward to having it open,” Green said.
The 5.6 million dollar facility now decked out with all new classrooms, a kitchen space for both cooking and cooking classes and a park just outside the back door—it’s a new environment for students with a lot more leg room.
Green says with students returning to school after an unconventional year like last year, reinforcing social skills, and supporting students academically couldn’t be more crucial.
”The opportunity of being able to socialize and meet other people from other schools I think that’s very important and with the tutoring we do here and the way we approach education here will help a lot of the youth that come here,” he explained.
Phase 1 of renovations is just about finished and the staff is working toward raising nearly 2 point 6 million dollars going toward phase 2 which will create more amenities for students.
”I think having a rec room, a multipurpose room, a couple of more classrooms and a meeting room will really help this community because they’ll be able to come in and use the facilities where there’s nothing readily around to do that,” said Green.
Demolition a few years left a void in Reservoir Hill leaving Saint Francis neighborhood center standing in the gap.
And with the potential for more students in the area due to a new school near by— Green wasn’t to ensure St Francis stands taller.
Right now the center can house about 70 students. Green is hoping to increase their capacity to about 200.
”There isn’t enough after school programming in this area so the school over there has after school programming, we have it but we knew they’re going to need more and that’s part of the reason we wanted to double in size here,” Green said.
The official first day back is October 4th but they’re requesting volunteers for their move in days scheduled for September 17 and 18th.
To volunteer email Tgreen@saintfrancis.org