On April 25, 1981, the Hyde School, highly valued in the Newton Highlands Community, suffered a disastrous fire, and in 1984, the school was permanently closed. In the weeks and months that followed, the Highlands Community labored endlessly to get at least a portion of the old Hyde School complex approved for use as a Community Center.
The Highlands was given the opportunity to transform the gym into a community center. The Newton Highlands Community Development Corporation, a private non-profit organization, agreed to provide the administrative support required to operate the Center.
Since its founding in 1988, the Hyde Center has sponsored free community programming such as Coed Adult Basketball and Coed Adult Volleyball, Family Gym Nights, San Chin for Seniors, and Family Movie Nights. The Hyde also offers the highly popular, low-cost, GymFun for Toddlers, and the moderately-priced, Tai Chi. We now also offer a unique program, Teen Band Night, for a modest entry fee. Other events, such as the Newton Parks and Recreation “Funtastic Fridays” dance and games parties for 5th graders, have been going on for several years. Our own annual events include a Winter Soup Social, a Community Service Appreciation Dinner, Village Day activities, a Welcome Back Ice Cream Social at the start of the school year, the Bicycle Tour de Newton, and a Halloween party. We also have rented out space to individuals, other nonprofits and community organizations for many purposes: basketball leagues, youth indoor soccer, floor hockey, dog obedience classes, aerobics, parties, and fundraisers.
By renting out the gym and leasing our office space, the Hyde Center has been able to fund community programming, offer the gym space as an area resource and remain in the black. In fact, we are one of the only community centers in the state that receives no direct city, state or federal support. As always, we are interested in expanding our range of free and low-cost programming for Highlands and Newton residents, and welcome new ideas.