In the last four years, OLLI has experienced a 23% increase in membership and 50% increase in the number of classes offered each year in our Morgantown program. We have increased the number of hands-on learning experiences, adding the MonRiver New Horizons Band and ongoing Tai Chi classes; offering cooking classes several times a year; increasing the number of computer and technology classes; and more. We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of classes and events with high demand, leading to the creation of more class wait lists and more members finding themselves on those lists. We are outgrowing our space.
In light of this growth, as well as increasing rent and other facilities costs, the President of our Board of Directors at the time, Linda Jacknowitz, and I began conversations with the Office of the Provost in 2018 in hopes of securing an increase in WVU’s financial contribution to our program in support of classroom and support facilities. Last fall, Provost Maryanne Reed granted OLLI an additional $20,000 annually in support of additional space.
Last month, members of our board and finance and facilities committees began conversations with WVU Facilities Planning to secure and design a new space for OLLI at the Mountaineer Mall. Although we have some ideas about what we want to see in a new space (including a larger classroom, computer lab, and member lounge; a space for exercise classes; and a kitchen), we want your input as well. What would you like to see in new space for OLLI classes, events, and social interactions?
Next week, you will find hanging in each classroom a large yellow striped sheet of paper on which we invite you to record your ideas. Later this month, we will host a discussion for members to learn more about the process of securing and designing new space, offer input, and how you can help! Watch the Friday bulletin and classroom announcements for the date and time.
And thank you to all of our members, donors, and friends for your continued involvement and support!