Catchings Owens Community Suite Grand Reopening

Catchings Owens Community Suite Grand Reopening
Posted on 02/28/2022

Montclair Public Schools held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, February 26 marking the grand reopening of the Catchings Owens Community Suite adjacent to Glenfield Middle School. More than 50 community members, township officials, family members and dignitaries gathered to celebrate the occasion. Watch video of the ceremony.

The space has been home to seniors, civic organizations, social gatherings, and Glenfield students for more than 40 years. In collaboration with the Glenfield Task Force the venue has been used for countless programs and special events and was renamed and rededicated in 2001 as the Catchings Owens Community Suite. 

“Over the decades, building a community center was the topic of frequent discussions. There were a number of proposals, talks with the Board and community partners, the writing of a grant, the adoption of a community school concept and now here we are and the people in the audience are a true testament of the story that was and how far we’ve come,” said Superintendent Jonathan Ponds in his opening remarks.

leaders at podium
Superintendent Jonathan Ponds with Celine Choice, wife of Wally Choice and Senator Nia Gill. 

The original Federal grant for the renovation of Glenfield School was written by Dr. Stephanie Robinson, who attended the ceremony and received a huge round of applause. It was Dr. Robinson and longtime civic leader Mr. Wally Choice who traveled to Washington, DC to promote a community school concept and came away with more than $900,000 to renovate Glenfield.

former board members
First row: Ron Burton and Carole Willis. Second row: Celine Choice. Third row: Former BOE members Carmen Taylor and Joyce Michaelson and Montclair NAACP President Roger Terry.

Also in attendance were three former Board Members Mr. Ron Burton, Dr. Carole Willis, and Ms. Joyce Michaelson, who were part of this community concept who in 1984 voted on a significant Resolution to approve the definitions of Community School and Community Education and the receipt of more than $940,000 in Federal funds toward the renovation of Glenfield School and the implementation of community education and concepts.

Led by Buildings and Grounds Supervisors Robert Kelley and Tyreek Hunter, the entire Buildings & Grounds staff worked many hours painting, replacing the ceiling and lighting, replacing flooring, installing new window treatments, upgrading bathrooms, and making the space a welcoming and inviting meeting place embracing social activities, recreation, civic events, and educational programs benefiting youth and adults in our community. In addition, the Glenfield PTA donated new furniture.

community members community members
 community members display

“These types of projects are what community is all about and a demonstration of connection and working together at its finest,” added Ponds.

Distinguished guests who offered their congratulatory wishes included: Board President Ms. Latifah Jannah; Congressman Donald Payne; Senator Nia Gill; Assemblyman Thomas Giblin; Mayor Sean Spiller; Councilor-at-Large Bob Russo; Montclair NAACP President Roger Terry; MNDC Executive Director Rev. Dr. Craig Dunn; wife of Wally Choice, Celine Choice and 4th Ward Councilor David Cummings who introduced members of the Choice, Owens, and Pelham families. 

Before pics:
front door  inside garbage

 inside garbage  inside garbage

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