There is lots of activity at the Pratt Teen Center. With Liberty Middle School between sports — basketball has ended and track hasn't started — attendance is up. Manager Kim Evert keeps busy right after school ends, dishing up or heating up snacks, available to hungry students at a low cost.
A four-year goal has been realized, with the installation of new carpet, in the form of squares, which can be replaced one at a time if necessary. A $500 endowment and a $500 grant from the South Central Community Foundation in 2013 helped pay for that project.
While the kids are busy watching TV, playing pool, working on computers or just hanging out, volunteer workers trek through on their way to the back building.
Pratt High baseball and softball coaches Pat Stivers, Mike Forshee and Ron Hill, and some of their team members are renovating a former storage area into an indoor batting facility, with batting cages and a soft toss area. The old carpet from the Teen Center will be reused in the cages.
The facility will be available, for a charge, to PHS baseball and softball teams and to local traveling teams.
The income will partially replace what the center lost when Arrowhead West opened a new building in the Prairie Park Business Parkway and no longer needed to rent recreational space for their clients.
The second floor of the Teen Center is rented to a dance studio. Evert hopes to be able to replace the large windows in that space that overlook Main Street. They're not energy efficient, she said.
She will be getting estimates for the work soon, and announcing a plan to help fund the project.
The center is also available to rent by the hour or by the day, and that is becoming more popular, according to Evert.
The teen center is open from 3:30 to 5:30 Monday through Friday, offering a safe place for middle schoolers until their parents get home from work. Special events are also planned on various occasions.