JCJ, Seneca Nation celebrate grand opening of the Seneca Arts & Learning Center / by Sarah Callahan

On Thursday, May 12, the Seneca Nation of Indians opened the doors to its new Seneca Arts & Learning Center at the former Seneca Elementary School on Center Street in the city’s west end.

The Nation purchased the former Seneca Elementary School from the Salamanca City Central School District in 2014, after the district shuttered the school and moved students to the Junior-Senior High campus on Iroquiois Drive. JCJ was brought on board to work to provide services for the adaptation of the school based on past work with the Seneca Nation and experience in design of facilities for early childhood education.

The new design has transformed the existing, previously closed Seneca Elementary School building into a “multi-generational Seneca learning center.” The building houses an Early Childhood Learning Center, the Nation’s education administration offices, a language and cultural center, museum collections and archives and a Center for Business Growth. It will help the Nation to capitalize on the many benefits of having all of these services consolidated under one roof and the new facility will eliminate the waiting list for children to gain access to the ECLC.

Leaders and members of the Seneca Nation, including President Maurice A. John Sr., celebrated the center’s grand opening Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by a tour of the building and grounds, a viewing of a time capsule and a luncheon.

Sue John-Blakesnake, the master of ceremonies for the ribbon cutting, called the event a “very historic and emotional moment” that will “begin a new life in this facility.”

Visit the Salamanca Press to read more about the success of the new Seneca Arts & Learning Center.