Church Hill senior center on schedule for June completion

Jeff Bobo • Feb 1, 2009 at 12:00 AM

CHURCH HILL — Swimming pool, billiard room, game room, arts and crafts, private access to a 6,000-square-foot fitness center, 150-seat dining hall and a professional kitchen equipped with commercial quality appliances.

Sounds like the makings of a pretty good resort.

But actually that’s what Church Hill senior citizens have to look forward to when their new senior center is completed this coming June.

Church Hill city workers are in the final phase of a three-part project transforming the old IGA grocery store building into a new 8,000-square-foot public library, 6,000-square-foot fitness center — both of which are completed — and 12,000-square-foot senior center under construction.

Two years ago Church Hill purchased the vacant store building located adjacent to the Church Hill Shopping Center on Highway 11-W for $400,000. By the time the project is completed, the city will have invested nearly $900,000 in the facility.

That’s a good value for what the city is receiving, City Recorder Mark Sandidge told the Times-News last week. If Church Hill had attempted to build the three sections of the facility from scratch, the price tag would probably have been closer to $2 million, he added.

“We think it’s been a big savings and we’re going to end up with a great facility,” Sandidge said.

Sandidge added, “When we were able to acquire the old IGA building, we knew we needed to expand our library and build the seniors a new center. They’re in an old building that was built in the 1940s, the old high school, which is not a very good facility. We built the library and finished the fitness center after we acquired some equipment, and now we’re doing the last project, which is the senior center.”

One big factor in keeping the cost down is the fact that the majority of work on the project has been completed by city employees. There were about a half-dozen employees working at the senior center Thursday when the Times-News visited, with some focusing on drywall and others beginning to knock a hole in the east wall to make an additional exit.

“We hope to be finished by June of this year, and we’re making pretty good progress,” Sandidge said. “We need to finish some of the flooring and ceilings, put in our kitchen and our swimming pool ... and then the shower area (adjacent to the pool). And we’ve still got some electrical work, the exterior and the parking lot.

“We feel like we’re on schedule for a June completion.”

While the library faces 11-W, the entrance to the senior center is on the back end of the old store and will face Main Boulevard. The fitness center entrance is on the west side of the building along the private access road that connects 11-W with Main Boulevard.

The Church Hill Public Library has scheduled a day-long celebration for Feb. 17 for the one-year anniversary of its grand opening. Sandidge said that as of the end of last week the fitness center was just shy of 700 paying members.

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