OASIS will now be able to serve more members, offer more classes, reduce long wait lists and provide smoother transitions between classes
By Lauren Feiglin
September is the time when people think of school bells, school busses and learning. For us, September brings anticipation and eagerness to register for fall classes at OASIS, the local chapter of The OASIS Institute, the national, not-for-profit education organization with headquarters in St. Louis.
A successful model for productive aging, OASIS’ mission is to enrich the lives of mature adults by engaging them in lifelong learning and service programs so they can learn, lead and contribute in their communities. Since June 2001, the Syracuse chapter has done just that. Experiencing rapid growth from the day it opened, its membership has grown to nearly 8,500. The organization relies heavily on its volunteer corps of more than 125 to operate the center and run programs, and has partnered with several local organizations and institutions, including the Syracuse City School District.
With generous support from Upstate Medical University, OASIS’ local sponsor, the Syracuse OASIS Center relocated in July to a newly constructed 11,000-sq-ft. facility that is twice the size of its original space formerly situated in ShoppingTown Mall.
The new center is built in the former Telergy Building, next to the DoubleTree Hotel, near Carrier Circle in East Syracuse.
The new building is a lovely, state-of-the-art facility, with loads of sunlight, more than sufficient parking and amenities. Members will be delighted to find larger classrooms, an additional fitness classroom, separate enclosed coatroom, increased storage space, increased volunteer work space, new staff offices, a break room and wider hallways.
The staff and volunteers are overwhelmed at the wonderful opportunity the new facility will provide because OASIS will be able to serve more members, offer more classes, reduce long wait lists and provide smoother transitions between classes. Gone will be the days of rushing around to move chairs, tables and AV equipment in between programs.
Only four and half miles away from its former location, the new OASIS Center is still located in DeWitt, is accessible from multiple driving routes, is on Centro bus routes and is close to many wonderful, accommodating restaurants. Members will appreciate the easy access, expanded parking and a safer walk to their cars. In fact, everything about this move for OASIS is a winner.
The grand opening planning committee has worked hard during the summer to create a special day of events to launch OASIS’ new home, and invites the community to attend the OASIS open house Aug. 18, beginning at 9:30, when SUNY President, David Smith, MD, and a representative from The OASIS Institute, officially “cut the ribbon” and open the doors for a day of tours and special events.
We know how eager members are for OASIS to open its doors this fall. Planning for the new facility coupled with time for the construction, resulted in shorter 2010 OASIS trimesters and less classes. These “lighter” trimesters were difficult for members, as staff and volunteers reassured them they’ll be pleased with the outcomes and requested their patience. One OASIS member said she felt as if she was going through “withdrawal” while waiting for the new Center to open and for fall classes to begin.
Good news! Classes begin Sept. 13, with a variety of fresh, stimulating and exciting fall programs in which they can enroll.
Lauren Feiglin is Syracuse’s OASIS executive director.