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Contractor chosen for $1.5M Senior Life Center makeover
Construction on facility set to begin at end of May
Brandy Palmero, supervisor of the Senior Life Center, stands at the future front entrance of the center. Beginning in May, the nonprofit on Prior Street will start a substantial renovation that will add a commercial kitchen and other new services to the center.

With a contractor lined up, the director of the Senior Life Center in Gainesville expects attendance to remain steady when a $1.5 million makeover of the center’s facilities begins and seniors are temporarily moved to another location.

Phillippa Lewis Moss said Thursday that she expects seniors to continue coming for meals and planned activities at the Fair Street Neighborhood Center once renovation and expansion work begins at the Senior Life Center at the end of May. She said work could take seven to eight months.

Moss made her comments following an appearance at a Gainesville City Council work session. She told officials that local contractor Scroggs & Grizzel will undertake the project, which is being paid for with SPLOST VII revenues generated by a penny per dollar sales tax increase approved by Hall County voters in 2015.

Moss told The Times that any disruption to seniors whould be minimal because the Fair Street facility where they will be attending is just two blocks away from the Senior Life Center, 434 Prior St. She said the short distance between the two centers should help keep attendance steady.

“If it has been at any other place, it could have been, honestly, a logistical nightmare,” she said.
“When we go to Fair Street, they already have the tables and chairs.”

Moss said the new 11,000-square-foot center will double the current footprint and allow for a library, conference room, teaching kitchen, a pottery and craft room with a kiln, a dining room area, two-level lobby/storefront and a small fitness center, among other amenities.

To stay within budget, Moss said some adjustments were made.

One thing that will be missing in this construction is a fireplace. She said the cost adjustment was anticipated.

“This design was created in 2011 and it’s 2017 now,” she said. “With cost of inflation and so forth, we always knew that we would have to make some deductions. We just didn’t know what those deductions would be.”

Moss said the new center is scheduled to be completed by January, but added there’s an outside chance it could be ready in December.

Mayor Danny Dunagan said he is looking forward to seeing the upgrades.

“It is much needed,” the mayor said. “The times I’ve been in there it’s wall-to-wall.”

Council agreed to include the contract with Scroggs & Grizzel on the consent agenda for Tuesday’s council meeting.