Reality of a dream

Fallon Councilman Bob Erickso, leads,n reads a proclamation Friday recognizing National Senior Citizen Day. Holding the proclamation is Churchill County Commissioner Bus Scharmann.

Fallon Councilman Bob Erickso, leads,n reads a proclamation Friday recognizing National Senior Citizen Day. Holding the proclamation is Churchill County Commissioner Bus Scharmann.

The announcement of a new facility came at the right time for Churchill County’s senior citizens.

To coincide with National Senior Citizen Day on Friday, the official announcement of a matching grant to help with the first two phases of a new center was welcomed with applause as Comptroller Alan Kalt discussed details. Kalt said the Senior Center’s coalition board, architect Frank Woodliff III, the county and the city of Fallon worked hard to secure the grant from the William N. Pennington Foundation. Expected completion of the project is expected to take less than two years.

The initial announcement, though, came at a county commission meeting two weeks ago after commissioners approved to accept a $2 million grant for the new 15,000 square-foot center that will be located next to the museum on 892 S. Maine St.

“This wouldn’t have happened without the generous support of the William N. Pennington Foundation,” Kalt said. “This is a great day for our senior citizens.”

Kalt said the grant will cover the project’s first two phases, which includes the base bid for construction with a section of the building shelled out to complete in the second phase. Phase II includes a proposed beauty salon, retail space, multi-purpose rental area and a wellness exam area.

According to Kalt, the third phase will lead to the completion of the facility to include parking-lot lights, memorial gardens, walking paths, a porte-cochère, audio-visual equipment, back-up generator, Maine Street road improvement and other related costs. Kalt said the cost to complete the final phases is estimated at $694,550.

“With the generous grant of $2,042,000 from the Pennington Foundation, the total committed resources are $3,842,000 which will complete phases one and two, thus leaving a remaining balance of $640,252 to fully fund the new facility,” Kalt said. “Additional work will be done to secure additional grants and commitments to complete the project by April 1, 2017.”

Kalt said funding for the third phase should be secured before the first two phases are completed. He added the city and county would come up with their share to match the foundation’s donation.

“It’s not a dream any more,” Kalt said, “It’s going to happen.”

Kalt also said the naming rights of the new center will be given to the Pennington Foundation.

“The William N. Pennington Foundation is built upon a legacy of community service, and this senior-center project will continue that tradition for generations to come in Churchill County,” Kalt said.

County Commissioner Bus Scharmann, who sits on the center’s coalition board, said he is pleased with the progress made on the new center.

“I’m grateful for everyone who took part in what will be a community accomplishment,” he said.

Senior Center Director Jamie Lee said the current facility, which is more than 70 years old, currently serves 160 senior citizens. As for the new center, Lee said she is excited to see the inclusion of a recreation room and medical component for health education and wellness.

With completion at less than two years away, Lee said she doesn’t know what additional staffing will be required.

“We haven’t got that far yet,” she said.

Lee said the board is still receiving additional input from the seniors and community.

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