Senior center selects Fuji Park for temporary operations

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While the Carson City Senior Citizens Center undergoes an expansion, most daily operations will move to the two-story Fuji Park Exhibition Hall in May.

Executive Director Janice McIntosh said the scheduled move date is May 6 barring any delays in architecture plans. The decision to move temporarily to Fuji Park was made after months of searching and negotiations.

"We've seen a tremendous increase of new people at the center," said McIntosh. "It's always good to see new faces."

According to the U.S. Census, 14.9 percent of Carson City's population is over the age of 65.

Marc Reynolds, director of Carson City Community Transportation, has arranged for "round-robin" rides from the center to the exhibition hall and back.

"We're hoping others will carpool and make the best out of their trip," said McIntosh.

"They can visit the park, hike, Tai Chi can be held outside in the park. All I have to say is that first week of meals better be good, so the people will want to come back."

The city is not charging the center for use of the hall, but the center will be responsible for utility usage beyond normal monthly operations.

Holding back kitchen operations as long as possible is Nutrition Services Manager Tim Week.

"For me, the move is a logistical nightmare," said Week, 32.

"I'm going to try to keep as much stuff here as I can. We have tons of canned goods and frozen items, plus my pots and pans."

Week begins his day in the center's kitchen around 5:15 a.m. He does prep work for the day's meal and helps with the organizing of the Meals on Wheels prior to serving the 11:30 a.m. lunch crowd at the center.

Daily Meals on Wheels deliveries number from 160-180. Meals served in the dining room vary from 150-266, depending on the menu and activities for the day.

"There will be minimal changes to the kitchen area with the construction," said McIntosh.

"We'll be adding a second serving window and expanding the east wall out 8 feet."

McIntosh said she and Week twice took a group of seniors to Fuji Park to survey facilities. All said it would work best for them, as did the center's staff.

"We do a lot with very little staff," said McIntosh.

There are 17 paid positions at the center. Most of them are part-time employees, paid through federal and state grants.

McIntosh has been working extensively with city personnel and the parks and recreation division. The west parking lot will be paved prior to the May move, weather permitting.

More phone lines will be added as will 220-volt electrical lines.

"This will create better things for the exhibit hall if they ever have to do this again. We'll do whatever it takes to make it work."

A bond passed by voters in Carson City in 1985 is paying the center expansion. The bond was used to build the center at 911 Beverly Drive in 1988 and was paid prior to its 10-year maturity date.

"The contractors are ready to go once the (architectural) plans are finalized," said McIntosh. "A lot of prep work has been already been done."

Metcalf Builders is the construction company. Architecture and landscaping is by Eissmann-Pence Architecture/Landscaping, Ltd., who designed the main building constructed in 1988, along with Aspen Engineering and Pinnacle Engineering. Expansion costs are about $3 million.

The Eagles Hall on Fifth Street offered its facility, but after consideration McIntosh declined.

"They were so nice to offer their facility to us, but we needed more space and storage areas than they had available. We are thankful to them and it was wonderful of them to make the offer."


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