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Gateway learning centre floored by close to $25K grant

'You can all see how beautiful this is,' Midland facility executive director says of much-needed upgrade aided by OTF funding. 'What we had before was dirty, smelly, buckling, dust-producing carpeting'
Standing on newly-installed flooring at the Gateway Centre for Learning in Midland were key figures involved in the $23,400 Ontario Trillium Foundation capital grant funding. From left to right: Maureen Reid, social media member of the Rotary Club of Midland; Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop; Gateway executive director Jennifer Ellis; Richard Farmer of the Ontario Trillium Foundation grant review team for Simcoe-York; Rotary Club of Midland president Jason Wilson; and That Flooring Store owner Chris Garratt.

To have a foundation of good standing, you must also have a good foundation to stand upon.

Renovations to the flooring of the Gateway Centre for Learning in Midland were recently completed thanks to Ontario Trillium Foundation capital grant funding for $23,400, replacing an aged carpet that kept staff and visitors wearing footwear on at all times.

Gateway executive director Jennifer Ellis expressed thanks for the many staff, volunteers and supporters who helped during the grant-application process as from old carpet was replaced by new flooring over the past year. 

Through the grant, a commercial-wear was installed over the winter months by a Barrie-based company.

Photos of the old carpeting were arranged in the presentation area.

“You can all see how beautiful this is,” said Ellis, “and what we had before was dirty, smelly, buckling, dust-producing carpeting. We had already invested in a high-end vacuum. This got vacuumed regularly; this had weekly cleaners who came in. But you just can’t stay on top of something that is 20-plus years old.

“Carpeting would last generally 5-to-15 years depending on the wear and tear; Gateway Centre for Learning has in excess of 200 people through this space on an annual basis, and 200 people per year in that space; that’s a lot of wear and tear,” Ellis added.

Gateway Centre for Learning, formerly the Midland Area Reading Council, was incorporated as a charity in 1982. The organization supports literacy skill development through teaching reading, writing, math, and other digital skills tailored to individual needs.

“Replacing the carpeting with carpeting would’ve been cheaper but eventually we’d have to replace it again,” said Ellis who called the new flooring more durable, stable, longer-lasting, easier to maintain, and professionally installed.

“The other thing that’s been fantastic about this project is seeing the pride of ownership from our members – people who were coming in when we first had it put on – and wanting to take their shoes and boots off; that did not happen before. Let’s face it; who was going to walk on that without proper foot protection,” Ellis shared with a laugh.

Additional assistance was provided by the Rotary Club of Midland, whose members were called upon for manual labour assistance but instead contributed to hiring professional movers for the inter-office shifting of objects when it was determined the club were unable to commit to the endeavour.

The event was attended by Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop who remarked on the importance of literacy development in communities: “You learn to read so that you can read to learn.”

Also in attendance was Richard Farmer of the Ontario Trillium Foundation grant review team for Simcoe-York.

“The Gateway Centre for Learning put forward a good cause for your $23,400 capital grant,” said Farmer, “that enabled you to refurbish the centre’s flooring, eliminating environmental hazards and potential tripping exposures; the new flooring will be a benefit for people of all abilities.”

The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. Last year, over 1,000 grants were awarded to non-profit organizations and communities across the province. 

Ellis remarked: “It’s not the first time Gateway’s received money from OTF, because they have several different grant programs and categories and they like to support organizations and help them deliver community-based services and programs.

“Community-based services and programs describes Gateway Centre for Learning to a tee.”

Gateway Centre for Learning is located at 488 Dominion Avenue in Midland, and are available through its website and social media for information regarding learning, teaching, volunteering, donations, and more.

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Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Derek Howard covers Midland and Penetanguishene area civic issues under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada.
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