The building was scheduled to open earlier this summer, but officials had to push the open house date back to allow work to be completed on the project.
At Tuesday’s celebration guests were led by staff members in a tour of several areas of the new facility, including the new multi-purpose and conference rooms, which make up the more than 2,000-square-foot addition to the 23-year-old building.
Director Nathan Brandon described the multi-purpose room, which previously housed administration workers, as a place where seniors can enjoy line dancing, puzzles, cooking and crafts.
Additionally, the expansion from the original 6,000-square-foot building includes a dining room with a capacity for about 100 and a larger kitchen area to accommodate the seniors as well as operations for the Meals On Wheels program.
“There’s really a new flow and purpose to every part of the building,” Brandon said, addressing the crowd of about 30 people. “Everything now has a function and form to it.”
Brandon said the seniors, who moved over to the new space from their temporary rooms at the Mimms Boys & Girls Club across the street, enjoy their renovation.
“They’ve absolutely loved it,” Brandon said. “They’ve told me they think it’s so nice and updated.”
By the end of next week, Brandon said he anticipates having 50 to 60 daily program members.
Susan Bythrow, the co-chair for the Volunteer Aging Council gala, told everyone in attendance at the grand opening that the VAC raised over $30,000 from the event’s auctions, sponsors, ticket sales and the mayor’s Top Hat race, which was won by the city of Woodstock.
Bythrow said the funds the VAC previously raised went toward purchasing two convection ovens for the newly renovated senior center.
Also during the presentation, Kristen Lockwood, the community relations director for Emeritus at Woodstock Estates, presented Brandon with a check for $1,429 for the center’s Meals On Wheels program.
Lockwood said the money was raised during the organization’s third annual greenhouse and plant sales event held this spring.
Benny Carter, VAC chairman, said the new space focuses more on the needs of seniors.
“It’s a much more functional space,” Carter said. “It’s outstanding. It’s a great renovation as well as expansion.”
With all of the additional space, the center will now have additional program offerings for the month of September, including chair strength conditioning, abdominal and core strength training, tai chi and scrapbooking classes. All of these programs do not require senior center membership and cost anywhere from $20 to $50 for the month.
Patricia Kenny, activities coordinator at the senior center, said the organization has partnered with Michael’s so all seniors who enroll in the scrapbooking class get a 10 percent discount on supplies.
She said the new offerings have already attracted potential members, as she received 10 new applications within the first three days of opening the new facility last week.
“Prior to the renovation, we saw anywhere from 45 to 50 seniors every day,” Kenny said. “If everyone comes back, it will probably be 50 to 60 per day.”
Cherokee County used $750,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding and funded the rest of the remodel with Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds.
Though the seniors have moved back from the Mimms Boys & Girls Club to the new senior center, Brandon said several administration employees are still housed across the street at Cherokee Area Transportation System offices where they will remain.