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The Village Network hosts gym groundbreaking

The groundbreaking for The Village Network's new gymnasium was commemorated with a ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Rhonda Edgerton

Ground has been broken for a new gymnasium at The Village Network. A new gym, which will fill the footprint of the previous one, is slated to be finished in April 2018.
 
“This will be a state-of-the-art facility to replace the 50-year-old gym,” said Scott Smailes, regional director of TVN.
 
The Village Network, previously Boy’s Village, is a multi-discipline behavioral health organization helping youth and their families become resilient and healthy and to enjoy brighter futures. It has been serving the area since 1946.
 
The original gym was connected to what was then the school, which is now located in the Gault Youth and Family Enrichment Center.
 
The TVN slogan for the project is “Remembering our past, building our future."
 
One connection of the past to the future is in the name of the gym: The Bob Maruna Gymnasium. Maruna was a gym teacher when the original gym had just opened back in the early 1960s.
 
“Bob really started the concept of recreational therapy back then, a forerunner to what has become a recognized staple in programs like ours,” TVN President and CEO Rich Graziano said.
 
Maruna remains involved with TVN to this day, cultivating alumni relationships and donors.
 
“I’ve received far more than I ever gave,” Maruna said. “To this day some people would run away when they see me coming,” he said.
 
Maruna has been instrumental in raising roughly $300,000, half the nearly $600,000 needed for the project.
 
Maruna was inducted into the TVN Hall of Fame in 2017.
 
Graziano said the need for a new gymnasium came over the winter when students came to him about the roof leaking badly when they wanted to play basketball.
 
“We wanted the kids to feel good about their school,” Graziano said. He explained how the gym has become home to intramural and other club sports in recent years.
 
“It was just a gym before Bob. Now it was a recreational center and needed to be upgraded to reflect our commitment,” Graziano said.
 
The new gym will feature a locker room and weight room as well as the gym floor.
 
A resident student at TVN said he couldn’t be happier about the new facility. “About five months ago I started working out, using that as a coping skill,” he said. "Basketball and weight-lifting would help me burn off negative feelings and excess energy.”
 
The resident said he spends somewhere around 16 hours a week working out in the gym. “I know a lot of the other boys here appreciate it, to keep us active and healthy,” he said.
 
Jim Jakubowski, a trustee on the board, representing the Federal Order of Eagles, traveled from Toledo for the event.
“We have supported several improvements here over the years,” Jakubowski said. “This has been my charity since the 1980s, and whenever I come here, it’s like coming home.”
 
Jakubowski said the staff is outstanding, and it prepares residents to “go out in the world and be somebody.”
 
Other links to the past for this project are The Timken Foundation and Freeman Construction.
 
The original gym was funded by Timken and built by the Freeman Construction Company in the early '60s. The current project also is funded by Timken and is being built by Freeman Building Systems.
 
“All around, we build strong connections, and those connections tend to stay,” Graziano said.

Published: November 13, 2017
New Article ID: 2017171109915