02/22/12 — New senior center gets final go-ahead

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New senior center gets final go-ahead

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 22, 2012 1:46 PM

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Chris Amon, 78, stands with her fellow senior citizens as they applaud the Services on Aging project approval.

Approval of a new senior center Tuesday morning was greeted with applause, hoots and hollers from the senior citizens packed into the Wayne County commissioners' meeting room.

Commissioners unanimously agreed to the $1.2 million contract with the design-build team of Daniels and Daniels Construction of Goldsboro and Dunn and Dalton Architects of Kinston following a brief workshop on the project.

Work on the center can get under way once the contract has been reviewed by County Attorney Borden Parker. It is expected to be completed before fall.

Design-build is a team approach that includes the architect/engineer and contractor working together on a project from design to construction. Wayne and Currituck counties are the only two counties in the state authorized to use design-build.

The county last May purchased the old Sportsman's World building and two outlying buildings for nearly $1.5 million. The Sportsman's World building will house the new senior center and Services on Aging.

Noelle Woods, county purchasing manager, told commissioners that eight submissions had been received after the county advertised in December for requests for qualifications. The list was shortened to five. It was a difficult decision, she said, but one team, Daniels and Daniels and Dunn and Dalton Architects, stood out from the others.

Ms. Woods said design-build will save time and money since the contractor, engineer and architect all work together from the start under one single contract.

"Our time frame is to be in before the fall of this year," County Manager Lee Smith said. "In talking with the contractors, they say unless there is something unforeseen we should be able to accomplish that. As we stated in the (planning) retreat last week, we were five to seven years out before even thinking about this project at several million dollars more.

"You will wind up with a project that is just under $3 million. We had anticipated one that was between $8 (million) and $10 (million) some years ago so this is saving money. With your forethought in purchasing this facility, you made this happen."

Any money left over from the $1.2 million could be used for "extras" for the center, he said.

Just as she did during the planning retreat, Services on Aging Director Eryn McAuliffe spoke to commissioners about the need for a center to replace older and cramped facilities at the current downtown center.

Using a PowerPoint presentation of the floor plan, she took commissioners and audience on a tour of the building layout from an airlock-type door designed to keep out cold air to a large dining area, plenty of restrooms, a kitchen, arts and crafts room and an exercise area, to an enclosed outside areas where senior citizens could garden or just enjoy the outdoors.

Also, Services on Aging offers a respite program for caregivers who care for people with Alzheimer's disease or other memory problems. Respite care gives the caregiver a break, while involving the patient in activities at the center, Ms. McAuliffe said.

The outside enclosed area will provide a place where people with memory issues can be safely outside.

She pointed out that the design includes a number of offices -- something that people might question the need for.

It isn't office space just to have an office, she said. A number of agencies have programs to assist senior citizens and private space is needed for those kinds of sessions, she said.

The layout incorporates what senior citizens, staff and the public have said the center should include, Ms. McAuliffe said.