BATAVIA – The Batavia Park District has gathered some opinions already on the local teen center, but staff members want to hear more.
The district this week held its final round of focus groups with students to get feedback on the Batavia Teen Center, 27 N. Prairie St., Batavia.
Although no high schoolers participated, the district did hear from middle-school students who anonymously suggested movie nights, a “Family Feud”-style game show night and volunteer trips.
To solicit more opinions, the park district plans to email a student questionnaire to households with middle-school-age and high-school-age children. The district also might make arrangements to set up a table at Rotolo Middle School lunch periods, said Kristin Bykowski, Batavia Park District recreation supervisor.
Bykowski said the focus groups gave the district some insight, but not enough to make any final decisions about the teen center.
“Are they looking for big events and activities, or just a place to hang out after school?” Bykowski said.
The teen center opened in a white house on Prairie Street in 1996 and has offered a variety of programs, including an after-school program and summer camp. When interest dwindled at the middle-school level, the park district began to focus on high-schoolers with teen band nights.
To accommodate the bands and the audience, Bykowski said, performances were held in the Eastside Community Center at 14 N. Van Buren St. near the Teen Center house.
Batavia High School senior Andrew Martinez remembers going to the community center in sixth grade for activities on Friday nights, a program that still continues today. He has never been inside the Teen Center.
Martinez said teen programming likely would have more success in the community center than in the smaller teen center, which can host only about 20 students at a time.
“You’ve got to have a more open space,” said Martinez, who offers that very same thing as co-owner and CFO of the Wifflot Wiffle Ball Field on Batavia’s east side.
Even if teens have outgrown the center, it has not outgrown the Batavia Park District. The house could be used for other programs in different age groups, Bykowski said.
To get a student questionnaire on the teen center, email Bykowski at firstname.lastname@example.org.