The groundbreaking of the new senior citizen center took place Oct. 13.
There’s no doubt that the 33,000 square center in Idle Hour Park will be new and bright and shiny when it opens in early 2016, but did you know it will also have:
- A library with a fireplace
- A café and an outdoor dining space
- Two art studios
- A sound-insulated music room
- A dance studio
- A patio
- Raised bed gardens
- A place to play badminton, horseshoes and volleyball?
And that’s not all. There will be multimedia classrooms for lectures, educational opportunities; a TV lounge and conference rooms. And more!
“The current facility has been well used, but it no longer meets all of the needs of our older residents,” Vice Mayor Linda Gorton said. “Not only will this new building be more functional, it will allow the city to serve more seniors.”
How many more?
Well, older adults represent a growing segment of Lexington’s population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, when the current senior center opened in 1983, residents age 60 or older accounted for 12.6 percent of the population. Seniors now make up 16.5 percent of the city’s population and are projected to pass 20 percent in coming years.
Beth Mills, Commissioner of the Department of Social Services, described planning for the new senior center as a collaborative effort.
“We looked at examples from modern senior centers, received input from other city agencies and conducted a needs assessment,” Mills said. “Most importantly, we heard from seniors. We also listened to neighbors and worked with Southland Christian Church, which is located next to the new center.
Lexington’s EOP Architects designed the new senior center. EOP consulted with Boston-based architect John Catlin, one of the most experienced senior center designers in the United States.
The city budgeted $13 million for the project, with goals of achieving LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Marrillia Design & Construction is the general contractor. The public can keep up with project updates by visiting Lexington.gov/seniorcenter.