Expanded Fort Collins Senior Center to offer more room to exercise, socialize

Construction of the multimillion-dollar expansion is expected to begin in November and wrap up next summer.


Coloradoan | May 16, 2013 | Written by Kevin Duggan

The Fort Collins Senior Center is about to get quite a workout.

A long-awaited expansion of the 17-year-old facility is schedule to begin this fall. The project will add about 17,000 square feet to the center, including new multipurpose rooms for classes, meetings and social gatherings, a fitness wing and an Internet cafe.

The project also will provide more parking for the busy center at 1200 Raintree Drive as the facility adds a second floor on part of the building and expands into open land to the west.

The expansion is expected to help the center meet the demand for more services as the senior population grows and Fort Collins becomes home to a greater number of retirees, said Marty Heffernan, executive director of community services for the city.

With all the additional room, the facility will become more like a community center, but its focus will remain on residents age 50 and older, he said. The new fitness wing is likely to attract “younger” seniors looking for a place to exercise.

“I think that is going to serve the community well,” he said. “But we are going to focus on meeting the needs of all seniors.”

The project will be funded through $5.1 million in sales tax revenue from the Building on Basics, or BOB, capital improvement program approved by city voters in 2005. Other BOB projects include the Lincoln Center renovation and the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

The city has kicked in another $500,000 toward the project and the nonprofit Fort Collins Senior Center Expansion Committee is working to raise $500,000 more to pay for finishing touches, such as equipping the Internet cafe and finishing two of the four new multipurpose rooms.

“We want to make the addition as nice as we can make it with furnishings,” said John Pfeiffenberger, an organizer with the expansion committee.

“The Internet cafe is really a big piece of that,” he said. “That came from the outreach we did to learn what seniors wanted.”

Additional funding also would provide more parking. The committee hopes to raise the final $380,000 needed to meet its goal by Oct. 31.

The new facility will include an administration wing and a reconfigured entryway and lobby. More storage will be available for groups that regularly have events at the center.

In addition to providing exercise opportunities, the center gives seniors a place to socialize and participate in activities. The social aspect of the center is critical for many residents, Heffernan said.

The project was designed and will be built by Fort Collins-based Neenan Co. It will be built to a “gold” LEED standard with the goal of having it use less energy than the current facility.

Visitors will notice some difference in the appearance of the facility, including a new entryway, but many of its elements will be familiar and its image will be maintained, said Bob Hosanna, lead designer with Neenan Co.

“We really think that over the years it has become a recognizable building for the city and we are trying to honor that with the materials we’ll use,” he said. “It’s always been a good building so we are going to continue that.”