Hundreds attended Tuesday’s dedication of the Lacey Senior Center’s expanded facility, a $3 million project that doubled its space.
The project was sorely needed by the seniors who frequent the facility.
The center opened in 2003 serving 267 seniors, a number that has grown five-fold to more than 1,700 members today.
The $3 million project added 5,388 square feet to the existing 5,014-square-foot facility off Pacific Avenue. A $1 million federal grant helped cover the costs.
“We remember being squished in here very well,” said seven-year member Vivian Rydbom. “We thoroughly enjoy coming here. It’s like a second home. “
It was a packed house Tuesday for the dedication attended by members, city officials and other guests.
Lacey Mayor Virgil Clarkson said he remembered speaking with a group at the center six years ago who asked him whether or not the facility would one day expand.
“I said yes,” Clarkson told the crowd. “I had no idea what I was talking about, but I said yes. And here we are now – double the size and triple the participation.”
The center’s meals on wheels and onsite lunchroom program has also grown from fewer than 5,000 meals per year to around 30,000.
“These trends are likely to continue,” Clarkson said. “Lacey’s senior population is projected to double in the coming decade.”
The renovated facility provides more classroom space and an expanded kitchen.
Lacey Senior Center Manager Kate Greene thanked the seniors for their patience during the construction. Some of the senior programs were moved to local churches and even to Chinook Middle School during the summer months as crews worked on the project.
“It blows me away every day how much you care for the center and each other,” Greene said. “You are what made this place have the ability to grow, and it’s the warmth in you that shines through every day.”
Rydbom and her friends play cards and knit at the center on a regular basis. They didn’t mind the temporary inconvenience.
“It’s all for the best,” Rybom said. “We need the room.”Chelsea Krotzer: 360-754-5476 email@example.com theolympian.com/thisjustin @chelseakrotzer