October 24, 2021

Educt Geria

The Devoted Education Mavens

New Erie Center for Arts, Technology renovates school, ready for class

  • Modeled after Manchester Bidwell Corp. in Pittsburgh, Erie Center for Arts and Technology offers free arts education to youth, career education or adults
  • After $12 million overhaul of old Wayne School, ECAT to welcome students, tenants, and help anchor East Avenue neighborhood
  • Architecture designed to convey sense of opportunity and hope to students

Nine years ago, Daria Devlin tutored kindergarten students as a volunteer at the Erie School District’s Wayne School, at East Avenue and East Sixth Street.

Devlin is still connected to the classrooms at Wayne, though not as a volunteer.

She has led the effort to overhaul the building and reopen it, in the fall, as the home of the Erie Center for Arts and Technology, the new nonprofit that Devlin heads as its executive director.

Daria Devlin, executive director of the Erie Center for Arts and Technology, tours a new classroom in Erie.

Filling the classrooms at the ECAT building this fall will be adult students learning job skills, and high school and middle school students learning about the arts.

Devlin, 44, the former coordinator of grants and community relations for the Erie School District, has been overseeing the transformation of the former Wayne School since August 2019, when ECAT purchased the four-story, 80,180-square-foot building from the school district for $250,000. The district closed Wayne, which was an elementary school, in 2017 due to declining enrollment.

Starting out:Director hired for new Erie arts, career nonprofit

The $12 million renovation of the 108-year-old building started in August 2020, and is on schedule to be completed later this month. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for Sept. 16.