Although there Americans with Disabilities Act automatic bathroom door closer were too spendy, plans are to add them as soon as money becomes available

by: RAY PITZ - REMODELED CENTER - Sherwood Senior Center volunteer Jenny Reiser poses in front of the new electric fireplace at the remodeled center.The wait is officially over!

After several months of renovation and remodeling work, the Marjorie Stewart Senior Community Center has new bathrooms, a snazzy reception area, new flooring and a variety of other additions.

“It’s a big difference of what it looked like prior to this,” said Jenny Reiser, a center volunteer.

Cost of the project was around $251,835 with $152,512 paid for out of federal County Community Development Block Grants distributed by Washington County.

Immediately apparent when guests enter is a new big-screen VIZIO smart television donated with funds provided by IBM. The television not only informs visitors about upcoming events but also scrolls photos of those who have passed through the center over the last 31 years.

Thressa Caulkins, a Meals on Wheels employee who serves as the center’s director, said she’s impressed with the remodeling efforts, calling it “exciting.”

Caulkins is especially pleased with the immediate entryway between the front doors to the new bathrooms, an area she refers to as the center’s “living room.” That entrance now contains a new faux-wood flooring that mimics beach-gray weathered planks.

“This is going to prevent falling,” Caulkins pointed out.

Visitors to the center will not only find a new reception desk — a portion of which is lowered to accommodate those in wheel chairs — but also a spacious electric fireplace and mantel.

The new bathrooms comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act including an added third unisex bathroom. Plans are to eventually add automatic closers to the bathrooms, something the city couldn’t initially afford due to being forced to remove several bells and whistles because of budget constraints. Costs to add the ADA closers to all three bathrooms is about $20,000.

The new bathrooms include all new fixtures complete with something the old ones never had – exhaust fans, said Caulkins.

Meanwhile, the Friends of the Sherwood Senior Center Inc. donated new cabinets and a big-screen television to the senior lounge.

Other highlights of the renovation project include:

  • Two new outside benches.

  • A spacious wooden credenza, complete with a bulletin board.

  • 140 new chairs throughout the center, compliments of Meals on Wheels

  • Two new drinking fountains

    Reiser, the center volunteer, said she’s been impressed with the remodeling efforts.

    “It was worth the wait,” said Reiser, who also runs the center’s Butterfly Boutique. “It looks nice. We’ve had a lot of comments on it already.”

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