ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A former school in southern Albemarle County is serving a new role that continues to give back to the community.

Thursday, January 10, marked the opening day for one organization using the building.

Yancey Elementary closed in 2017, leaving a void in the Esmont area.

But several organizations, including Jefferson Area Board for Aging, signed agreements with the county that allowed the building to open as a community center.

Joking and laughter filled the Yancey building on Thursday as JABA celebrated its opening day.

“As you can see, I'm in a wheelchair, I'm not mobile, so I don't get around to see people,” Laverne Lee, who visits the community center daily, said. “By coming here, I see majority of the people that I care a lot about.”

The new location gives people coming to JABA's senior center space to spread out.

“There's so much more space, and we are excited to welcome in new people from the community,” Emily Daidone, the manager of the Senior Nutrition Program at JABA, said.

“Good food, good conversation, good people - it beats sitting at home and watching TV or not getting out,” Amy Kirchner, the JABA regional manager, said. “It gives you motivation to come, have new relationships, and learn new things.”

The center offers seniors opportunities like getting visits from health professionals, exercising, playing games, and a lot joking.

“We feel like this is a full-circle moment,” Daidone said. “There is so much heart within this school building, and a lot of our members that attend have had grandchildren attend here, have worked in this school system.”

“Hopefully in the future have some intergenerational activities for the seniors to have some kids back in the school, too,” Kirchner said.

The senior center in Esmont is free and available to people aged 60 and older.

The group meets twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.