Our Senior Services Center is planned to be the home to a new generation of inclusive, age-friendly services that can meet the needs of a rapidly changing and aging Central Oregon.
As the provider of services for older adults in Central Oregon for 45 years, we are thrilled to be working to create a new services hub for the tri-county area which will include welcoming spaces for social activities and support programs where we can build and nurture connection, compassion, and community for decades to come.
We purchased the former Bend Community Center in 2018 with a long-range plan to use the 8,750 square feet to create a vibrant center for older adults and their families. Our new (to us) building will allow us offer a broad range of services for seniors under one roof; we are planning also to offer visiting space with our tri-county partners who serve seniors such as the Latino Community Foundation, Thrive Central Oregon, and Partners in Care and many more amazing organizations. And our new center will serve as the test site for new programs that solve important needs for our seniors that are currently going unmet.
Since the building was completed in 1952, many of the systems and surfaces have aged. The Council on Aging plans to renovate the entire space, but since COVID has forced us to close to in-person dining for our seniors (we are instead offering drive-through Grab-N-Go meals three days a week), we decided to start on critical renovations this summer. With an eye for the future needs of aging adults, we’ve prioritized safety and vital functional alterations in what will be Phase One of our building update. Here are the high points:
Safety First: The front access to the building is being completely redone. All of the concrete walkways, stairs, and the ancient ramp will be removed and upgraded to 2021 code. The most exciting element of this part of the project is the newly-designed, dramatic, gentle-incline ramp that will curve into our front door (with engineering thanks to local firm Ashley Vance). To prevent slips and falls, we’re installing a heat mount system underneath the concrete of the ramp, patio, and stairs, so that in the winter it does not ice up and remains safe for clients, volunteers, and staff to enter and exit the building.
Exterior: Our historical brick façade will get a bit of a makeover as it has gone years without any maintenance or TLC. New paint, windows and relocating of some doors will round out the exterior renovations on two sides of the building. And of course we will have some new landscaping to surround the old tree in our front yard area.
Kitchen Expansion: To keep up with the growing demand for more lunches and Meals on Wheels deliveries, we are revamping part of our kitchen area to accommodate a bigger washing station and an indoor pantry. Between mid-March and June, we served 3,253 Grab-N-Go lunch meals in Bend – a four-fold increase in free lunch meals since COVID-19 brought many new seniors in search of food to our center. It has been a challenge to keep up with all the dirty dishes, pots and pans!
Stay tuned. We’ll keep you up-to-date on our progress in the next newsletter! Thanks to so many community members for their generous support in helping us update this building to make Central Oregon the most age-friendly community possible.