Literacy Alberni expands

Literacy Alberni is moving out of its old cramped space and into new spacious digs.

Sylvia Krizan

Sylvia Krizan

Literacy Alberni is on the move.

The organization will close the doors to its cramped facility on Fifth Avenue and Redford Road, in the Salvation Army building, this Friday, March 18, and reopen on April 1 in the former Klitsa school.

The literacy organization is taking over the space previously occupied by Discovery Community College.

“We’re really excited,” Literacy Alberni executive director Richard Girling said.

“In the last six months we’ve been getting increasingly busy, to the point where our classroom is in our office,” Girling said.

“Other organizations in town know we exist now and they’ve been referring a lot of people who can’t read or write or who have just moved here from another country and need to learn English as a second language.”

The new building is three or four times as big as the existing space, and will feature an office for Girling, reception area, several private tutoring rooms and classrooms, and a computer room that can accommodate 12 computers.

Right now the computer literacy classes only have seven computers at their disposal, and many of the classes have twice as many students as there are computers, he said.

Literacy Alberni hopes to set up a social enterprise that will offer fee-for-service tutoring at affordable rates, so parents will no longer have to drive their kids to Nanaimo for tutoring.

“I like the fact that it’s in the same complex as a daycare. A lot of our learners have children; we’re going to work something out with (the daycare),” he said.

The new facility is also on a main bus route, which had been a concern when looking at moving away from downtown, he added.

Learner Sylvia Krizsan took time off to help paint the new building this week.

Krizsan is a student with South Island Distance Education (SIDES), and attends classes through Literacy Alberni five days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The new facility will make a big difference in her learning, she said.

“It’s huge,” she said of the new place. “I’d rather be here. In the old Literacy Alberni it was only two rooms and here there will be seven or eight classrooms,” she said.

The institutional green walls are getting a facelift into warmer blues, browns and beiges courtesy of Alberni Colour Corner Benjamin Moore, which has donated a lot of material as well as manpower, Girling said.

The public is welcome to attend an open house on Friday, April 1 beginning at 11:30 a.m. The new address is 5100 Tebo Ave.

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