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North Haven Cooperative Extension System breaks ground on new site (Released: 4/12/96)

by Renu Sehgal, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- The University of Connecticut breaks ground on the site of its new North Haven Cooperative Extension System center April 19.

The center is relocating in a money-saving move. The new facility at 305 Skiff St. will undergo $350,000 in renovations this summer before the center is moved from 43 Marne St. in Hamden. The state gave the site, which had formerly been occupied by a real estate agency, to the Cooperative Extension System a few years ago. But it needs an additional meeting room and improvements to the first and second floors and the basement.

''This will be our permanent home,'' said Wanda L. Little, extension center coordinator and a 4-H Youth Development educator. ''It's a great location because it's on a bus line close to the highways so people can get to us easily.''

A reception will be held at 9 a.m. on April 19 at Aces, 261 Skiff St., Hamden. The groundbreaking will take place at the new site at 10:15 a.m.

The building will be hooked up to the University's computer system. By using the building, UConn will save money in rent, said Bruce Wilbur, the system's program manager for educational outreach.

UConn students will also play a role in developing the new site, Little added.

Carole Campbell of Killingworth, Scott Jason of Hamden and Laticha Clifford of Mystic created designs last year for landscaping under the guidance of John Alexopoulos, associate professor of landscape architecture at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The final design will incorporate their ideas.

The office houses several programs, including the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, which teaches families with children practical ways to improve their nutrition. The center has provided teen- agers with employment for 20 years. Under the guidance of trained supervisors, the teen-agers are hired to teach nutrition education in day camps, Little said. The program has partnered nutrition education programs with several community agencies, such as Head Start, homeless shelters and family support centers, she said.

The center offers other programs, including food safety, home horticulture and 4-H youth development.

Little has been with the center for 26 years, living through many moves. The Hamden office is the result of a merger between offices in New Haven and Wallingford in 1981. The center moved to its present location in Hamden in 1988, but still lacks needed space for its programming, she said.

The new building will allow the center to grow and be better positioned to respond to the diverse needs of today's youth and families, she said.

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