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Council approves $7.5 million senior center bond


July 11, 2014

By Carley Dangona
carley@thereminder.com

WESTFIELD – The new Senior Center will finally come to physical fruition now that a $7.5 million bond was approved for its construction.
   
At a special meeting on June 30, the City Council approved the funding for the building of the center. Forish Construction Co. Inc. of Westfield is the contractor for the project.
   
According to Council on Aging Executive Director Tina Gorman, the design is complete and the “nitty-gritty” details of the center such as furnishings and paint colors are being chosen. She anticipated the ground breaking would take place by the end of July.
   
“We’re thrilled. Forish is chomping at the bit,” Gorman said. The goal is for the outside construction to be completed in time for winter so the builders can continue working on the inside of the center through the snowy season.
   
The new center will be located on the Noble Street. The design includes two wings: a one-story wing and a two-story wing. A large multipurpose room with a folding, soundproofed partition that seats 240 people is a main feature of the building. It will include a 113-space parking area and two points of entry.
   
A two-story, library/community living space, a gym, an arts and crafts room, a computer classroom and a billiards room will also be included. The right side of the building will include an expansion space if needed for future growth.
   
“We’re not looking back, we’re looking forward,” Gorman said regarding the fact that the first petition for the project dates back 20 years.
   
Gorman said that prior to the vote and throughout the design process, she has taken the time to address the questions and concerns of the councilors. She said she has met with most of them on an individual basis.
   
For Gorman, the vote was not a surprise. She stated that everyone involved in the design of the project “did their homework” to ensure a cost-effective center that meets the needs of the city’s “older adults.”
   
Gorman added that the center hosted an “impromptu celebration” the day after the vote in honor of the council’s decision.

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