Children to Return to Former St. Joseph School When Hoops and Handles Relocates

The gymnasium at the former St. Joseph School prior to renovations. (Courtesy photograph.)

Youth will soon be using the gymnasium again at the former St. Joseph School in Haverhill.

Renovations are underway now for a basketball training center called Hoops and Handles. The program, headed up by Lawrence resident Elington Rosario, has been in operation for about three months at the Temple Emanu-El on Main Street. Speaking before the City Council last Tuesday, he explained why he decided to bring the program to Haverhill.

“I decided I’m going to start a program in Haverhill because there’s six programs in Lawrence, there’s four programs in Andover, there’s three in Metheun and there’s not one set up here,” he said.

Rosario said there are already about 100 children enrolled in the program, which not only focuses on improving basketball skills, but also on building children’s self-assurance and character.

Councilors expressed support for the program, with President Timothy J. Jordan saying he expected to see even greater things from the Haverhill basketball team as a result.

Atlantis Investments’ Jonathan Cody redeveloped the major portion of the building into 36 apartments known as St. Joseph Lofts, just off Lafayette Square. He said the 7,500-foot gym now sports a new heating and air conditioning, roof, windows, fire suppression sprinkler system and fire alarm panel.

“It’s a great fit for the building and neighborhood,” Cody told WHAV.

Councilor Melinda E. Barrett said the space is ideally suited for the business.

“I know Mr. Cody was looking for somebody to fill that unique piece of that property and that will give you a real perfect (spot) for what you want to do there, for men and women or boys and girls. Very exciting for the community,” she said.

Rosario said he hopes the move will take place sometime around the middle of September.

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