Dozens gathered Thursday in front of the Laughlin Children's Center in Sewickley as its governing board and staff held a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by an open house to showcase the center's completed renovations.
Laughlin's Executive Director Doug Florey thanked the board, staff, clients and community for their dedication to the center. Harton Semple, of the Sewickley Valley Historical Society, also shared with the audience the highlights of 115 years of Laughlin's history.
Other speakers included Child Health Association President Elisa DiTommaso, St. Stephens' Rev. Geoff Chapman, Alexander Laughlin and Mayor Brian Jeffe, who said that the Laughlin Center has not only been an asset to the community, but also to his family as well.
Following the ribbon-cutting, guests toured the center. All three of Laughlin's structures, including a main building, cottage and carriage house underwent full renovations at a cost of $750,000.
Florey said he tried to find a way to best use the center's existing space for two years before the renovations began. Laughlin's client population has rapidly grown in the past few years, its facilities were outdated and its space was not used efficiently, he said.
Local architect Gretchen Bartlett came up with designs that reallocated and found use for all space. The carriage house, which dates to the 1880s is now home to the NAEYC-accredited Village Preschool. The cottage and main building, which are connected, now house all of Laughlin's other services, offices and storage.
The exterior of the center got a makeover as well with the addition of signs, a white picket fence, a playground and functional landscaping.
“I can’t believe we did all of this for $750,000,” said Florey, addng that Bartlett delivered amazing results at a reasonable cost.
In addition to receiving donations from the board and community members, Laughlin has also received grants from the following foundations supporting the renovation work:
Gauss Foundation, Dollar Bank, The Pittsburgh Foundation, PNC Charitable Trust, Paul & Nancy O'Neill Charitable Foundation, George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Foundation, Jane Smith Turner Foundation, The Richard King Mellon Foundation, PNC Foundation, The R. P. Simmons Family Foundation, The Hansen Foundation and The H. J. Heinz Co. Foundation.