Officials: No Alternative to Ward Park for Senior Center
With a new $7 million senior center slated to go into Ward Park, officials revealed there are no alternate locations at this time and that expansion space will be built into the design.
With no alternative site, designers of a new senior center will be working with what they have at Ward Park and building expansion into the proposed 14,000 square foot center.
“There is not an alternative site at this point," said Public Facilities Director John Ghiloni, who will be chairing the Senior Center Building Committee. “There is nothing to say it couldn’t end up at another location at the park.”
The current location picked for the center at Ward Park on the edge of the park is tight, said Joseph Rizza from Courtstreet Architects that will be leading the design at the New Senior Center Advisory Committee Thursday. There is no room for expansion around the proposed 14,000 square foot senior center so an additional 7,000 or more square feet will be built into a second floor, he said.
“Probably for the size of your community you will need more space," said Rizza who explained the 14,000 square feet is at the low end of what the community needs but additional space above could solve the problem in the future. “It’s easy to expand in the future if you need to and it’s not going to take a big budget."
The initial build out would include a fully furnished 14,000 square foot first floor. Built above would be a nearly finished space. Covering roughly 50 percent of the first floor, to leave room for a community room with a high ceiling, this space could be heated and cooled with walls and paint. The space would have stairwells and possibly elevator shafts leading up to it, said Rizza, so the cost of opening it up to use would be less expensive.
“To move in you essentially define what is going up there and put in some furniture and move in," said Rizza. “It would be a 50 percent addition in the future ... that would certainly get you into what the office of elder affairs recommend for seniors."
Expansion space is important to build in to the design, said Ghiloni who said the budget of the project needs to be taken into consideration.
"I think we need room for expansion," he said.