For decades, Great Skates was a family destination for folks in Eastern Maine, first as a roller rink, and then adding to it an arcade and laser tag. It was often used as a landmark, it was that well known! I'd wager a bet there's a good deal of the native Bangor population who has taken a lap or two around that building. And it was that sense of nostalgia that was almost palpable when the establishment closed its doors a few years ago.

There's its stood, right off the Sylvan road, since then, just taking up space--almost purposeless. But not anymore!

According to an article in the Bangor Daily News, the building is getting a bit of a makeover, but will still keep at its heart, many of the same inhabitants that it's always catered to; kids. And in this case, they're kids with special needs that this expansive space will help to meet.

The article states that in September, Stillwater Academy, which has for the past two decades been located at a rental space on the Acme Road in Brewer, will move to the Sylvan Road and call the old Great Skates building their new home. According to their website, the school serves children from 5 years old to 20 year who have Autism or other developmental or behavioral challenges. The space they've been in, up until this point, has limited what they've been able to do, especially when it's come to outside activities, because of the weather.

"The new building will improve on the Brewer site in other ways, too. For example, it will have larger classrooms that will be conveniently connected to side rooms where students can go if they need one-on-one attention from educational technicians...Unlike the Brewer site, the new location will also be large enough to include a gym. In total, the Brewer site has about 8,500 square feet of usable space for students, while the new one will have about 12,000 square feet..."

The BDN article states that the developer is in talks to bring in another tenant to occupy the other part of the renovated space. Stillwater Academy will open in its new space September 3rd.

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