Southwick Senior Center moving forward

SOUTHWICK – The expansion of the Southwick Senior Center is moving along and on target for completion in October.
Town Chief Administrative Officer Karl Stinehart said excavation “has been substantially complete” in the former deck space where the new addition will be built.
“They also excavated to allow the basketball park to be used for overflow parking,” said Stinehart.
Inside the building, removal of the ceiling has begun and Stinehart said right now they are waiting for submittals for steel rebar.
“That’s what ties the existing building into the new building,” he said.
So far, everything is going as planned.
“There haven’t been any unusual findings,” Stinehart said.
While construction of the addition takes place, the Senior Center has shifted much of its activities to space in the Town Hall basement.
“I have spoken to staff and it seems to be a really good transition,” said Stinehart. “It’s great we are able to use our community center space in the off-season.”
An afterschool program and Mommy and Me classes use the space during the school year.
“It is a good temporary fit for the Senior Center, with its dining area and large room,” said Stinehart.
Activities such as exercise programs are currently held there, which also has its own convenient, accessible entrance.
The expansion includes a large one-story addition at the back of Town Hall, which has the option of a second floor in the future.
Senior Center Director Jeanne Margarites said when the work began that she is excited the project is finally going forward.
“This is wonderful,” said Margarites. “We’ve been working on this for years.”
Margarites said the Center is very active and there are often two or three programs running at the same time. Yesterday, a line dancing class had to be moved to space on the second floor of Town Hall because a tax program was scheduled for the same time and space is limited.
“It will be great to have more space for fitness classes, and we can expand our social programs,” said Margarites. “We have so many different programs going on that this will really help.”
Because bids for the Senior Center expansion came in over budget, the Select Board voted in April to appropriate $80,000 from various town accounts to cover the gap.
The actual difference between the lowest bid and the project budget is $97,687. The budget was set at $546,322, which includes $508,322 in FY11 CDF funding and a $40,000 commitment from the town for additional roof reinforcement work to accommodate future municipal expansion. Evergreen Construction of Springfield made the lowest bid of $646,009 -which is a bid of $635,000 plus $11,009 for alternate work, including a partition and wood floor.

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