But due to weather delays and a $25,000 donation for the library, the long-awaited opening has been pushed back to February.
“When we cut the ribbon, we want people to be able to come in and start doing what they want,” said Spalding County Parks & Recreation Department Director Louis Greene.
Greene said the $25,000 donation “will allow the library to be built as it was initially designed, as a living room, with book cases and the gas-log, two-sided fireplace.”
The living room is just off the primary entrance and hallway from the main desk. The area is separated by a circular rotunda, which Greene said “is the focal point as you come in the door. It suits the space. It’s so inviting, but it’s not too fancy.”
The new senior center has separate rooms for art, ceramics, sewing, games and computer classes.
He said the county is looking for donations of a couple of sewing machines and televisions.
“If you’re going from LCD to LED TV,” Greene said, the county will accept the televisions for use in the new facility and provide paperwork for the tax-deductible donation.
There’s also a pool room, a shuffleboard room with two indoor courts side by side and a dance room with a hardwood floor designed especially for dance. Greene said there are springs under the floor, “so it’s not as bad on your knees as wood glued to concrete.”
The fitness room will have a weight machine as well as three treadmills, two stationary bikes, two recumbent bikes, an elliptical machine and a rowing machine.
“It covers anything you can think of,” Greene said.
There’s also a conference room and an office space for the seniors, which he said is not for staff but for the seniors, for clubs to do sign-ups for trips, and to do taxes. There’s also a kitchen, with everything a caterer would need for the banquet room, which can be set up to seat up to 200, and which will be available to rent for events.
Greene said everything in the banquet room can be removed and stored to clear the room for dance competitions, like the one the senior center hosted this past year at the city auditorium. One other thing the new facility will have that the senior center never had before is storage — there’s storage room, and each of the rooms has cabinets and space to store supplies.
The porches or verandas off the sides of the building will also be places for seniors to sit and talk, Greene said, with future plans for outdoor recreation including horseshoe and bocci ball pits as well as a gazebo, “once we have the money.”
Greene said he is impressed every time he comes over to the new facility.
“I have to pinch myself,” he said. “I personally think the county knocked it out of the park.”
The new senior center will also have membership cards for the seniors. Greene said the cards will help identify how the center is being used and which programs are being utilized.
“It helps me show the commissioners people like coming to the senior center and what they like to do here.” Greene said. “It helps get stats we were not able to keep before.”
He said, “We’d like them to be a card-toting member so we know what programs they want and what they don’t want.”
Greene is asking seniors to sign up online for memberships.
“My biggest fear is everyone will want to sign up the day we open,” he said.
For those residents 50 years old and older, online sign-up for the complimentary memberships is available through June 30, on the Parks & Recreation website, www.spaldingparksandrec.com. Click on “Senior Programs” and then “New Account,” and fill out the forms to register. Membership fees may be subject to change after July 1, 2013.
Greene said the software for this also allows Parks & Recreation to now accept credit and debit cards for registrations and reservations of pavilions at the parks. For seniors who are members and reserving a pavilion, he said, “they can just type in the membership number and it will bring up all your information, so you won’t have to type it all in.”
Greene thanked the Spalding County Board of Commissioners and county manager for construction of the new senior center.
“It wouldn’t be possible without the county manager paving the way,” he said. “Once he was hired back, this was the first thing he was tasked with.”
Greene also thanked county crews from Public Works, the Water and Sewerage Authority and Parks & Recreation for the extra efforts in doing the demolition and landscaping.
“We saved three-quarters of a million dollars, maybe more,” he said.
The Parks & Recreation staff, he said, took on the extra tasks without missing a beat on regular duties. He also thanked the city of Griffin electrical and sanitation departments for their work on the project.