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Youth already find center a 'cool' place
Teens can find a cool place to hang out and do free activities with their peers in the Teen Lounge located upstairs in the new Ceres Community Center.

The center opened on June 16 and word has spread quickly to teens that the lounge is an option for free time. On Friday 15-year-old Cheyenne Villagomez was playing a video game while Dylann Holley and Riley Cathcart were engaged in the Guitar Hero video game. All three said the lounge is a neat place to hang out.

A while later, Cheyenne's mom, Marjorie Taylor, popped in to check out the room.

"She'd probably be at the skatepark or going around town if this wasn't here," said Taylor. "I feel she's safe, because they monitor who comes in and who goes out. It's also well lit."

A surveillance camera helps the downstairs city staff keep an eye on the kids.

The room is for teens in the seventh through 12th grades. Teens need to sign in and receive a lounge pass. The room is open Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Teen Lounge has video games, board games, TV/DVD, cable, Wii Guitar Hero, Wii Fit, craft supplies, magazines, comfortable couches and a "cool vibe," said recreation coordinator Cambria Pollinger.

"The Teen Lounge is well supervised and has guidelines set in order to maintain a safe and fun atmosphere," she said. "Teens will have an opportunity to win raffle prizes, have Wii gaming tournaments, do community service projects, cook, dance, create cool art for lounge and more."

The northern window of the room affords a view of the Third Street parking lot of Ceres High School a block away.

The first floor of the center has a Senior Citizens Lounge which is open to seniors.