SUISUN CITY — It’s hammer time at the 27-year-old Suisun Senior Center.
Effective Friday, all programs and services will be relocated to the Joseph A. Nelson Community Center on Village Drive while the Merganser Drive building gets a facelift.
Center director Karen Mickens has been told to expect three months of construction work. She said she hopes for two months.
Whatever the time frame, she’s thrilled the facility is getting a long-overdue upgrade, and that the city has offered space at the Nelson Center so seniors can socialize and have their daily lunch. The only event that Mickens has put on hold is the monthly dinners, which are slated to return after the work is done.
The senior center is located next to a senior apartment complex, making it easier for residents to just cross the parking lot. Those who can’t walk to the temporary location can catch the bus that stops in front of the senior center.
“A lot of them drive,” Mickens said of those who use the center. “The majority will be able to walk or get other transportation.”
While she would love to have all seniors make the trip, she said she hopes at least 75 to 80 percent will come daily. A recent study showed about 100 people a day use the center, Mickens said.
The remodeling project is being paid for by money from a Community Development Block Grant. The roof work was completed in November at a cost of $56,400. This phase includes a new kitchen and office, kitchen equipment, flooring, lighting fixtures, dry rot repair and exterior painting. It is estimated to cost $462,400.
The new kitchen will include an ice maker, a new appliance to the center. In the past, Mickens had to take chests to the Nelson Center, fill them with ice and transport them back to the center.
It will also allow her and others who cook the holiday dinners to do all the work on-site. Cooking more than a few turkeys at the same time required trips to the Nelson Center to use its ovens.
Mickens counts herself among those who are not a big fan of change.
“What’s helping all of us is what we are getting after the fact,” she said.
Longtime senior center volunteer Lyle Winters said he can’t wait to see the changes.
“A brand new kitchen, new floors. I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
So is volunteer Agnes Kulhanek.
“We’re getting a new office, kitchen and nice new bingo machine,” she said.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.