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SeniorCenter_20160223

New Senior Center set to open

by Jamie Chase Galvin

A soft launch opening of Sterling’s new senior center is planned for Monday, May 2 with a grand opening celebration planned for later in the summer. Currently housed in the basement of the Butterick Municipal Building, the senior center’s move to the new location at the corner of Muddy Pond and Boutelle roads marks the end of a long and often difficult road to bring the new facility to fruition.

“It’s very exciting to see it completed. We started on this odyssey so long ago and talked about the possibility for so long,” says Maureen Cranson, currently serving as Chair of the Senior Center Building Committee. Cranson has worked in various capacities on the committee for close to five years and is gratified to see years of hard work finally coming to completion as the new senior center’s doors open to welcome the community.

Karen Phillips, Director of the Senior Center, agrees. “We’re really excited to finally open,” she says. “We want people to use it and to be there. We see the center as opportunity. Opportunity for engagement, for growth, for programming, and for volunteerism.”

Housed in a 6,450-square-foot building, the new center is a bright, airy space boasting a large, dividable multi-purpose room that can hold up to 140 people for big events, a game room, an art and computer room, and home offices for the Sterling Council on Aging.

“It’s a nice, bright space in which to eat and socialize,” says Cranson. “One of our main goals is to increase the number of people who use the center and to get people to walk in off the street to enjoy this wonderful open space.”

Non-essential supplies were moved from the Butterick Building to the center’s new location several weeks ago, and the rest of the equipment, including office supplies, phones lines, and computers will be moved at the end of April. The bulk of the furniture has already been delivered and is in place. Programming, some of it new, is expected to start up right away without delay or interruption.

Several unfinished projects, including paving the parking lot, have delayed the originally anticipated opening date by a few weeks. One of the biggest jobs left to tackle is landscaping, which Cranson expects to be completed by the end of the summer. “Getting everything together and completed has really become a community effort,” she says.

Phillips hopes more seniors will come to utilize and enjoy the site, adding to the population already served by the current senior center. “We’re hoping our number of daily visitors triples,” she says.

Cranson is both delighted and relieved to see this monumental project nearing the end. “From the beginning, we said let’s do something for our seniors and let’s do it right,” she says. “We’ve realized our goal, and I can’t wait for the doors to open.”

Photo by Lex Thomas

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