By Jordan Goltz
Meridian Times staff writer
MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP- On Sept. 23, the Okemos School Board met with senior activities leader Cherie Wisdom and interior designer Patti Dudley to discuss the renovations recently made to the Meridian Township Senior Center.
Planning for this project began back in December 2012, with most of the renovations being completed by the end of August. The project was funded through Meridian Township, with no estimated cost given. Renovations included a new reception desk, built-in fireplace and TV, new seating, added artwork and a new work café.
“Ninety percent of the project is finished, with just little tweaks left to do,” said Dudley, who started her own business in October 2012. “The senior center wasn’t as cozy before. My main goal was to make it more cozy and I feel that I did that with changing the colors of the wall and adding new carpet.”
The Senior Center is open to any senior citizen. The center has 781 members and is growing. Wisdom said that approximately 1,500 people come into the Senior Center each month.
Dudley and Wisdom weren’t sure how its members would receive the changes.
“At first it was challenging because there was so much change at once,” said Wisdom. “It’s looked the same since we opened, and there really hasn’t been many changes. This was a drastic change all at once.”
Wisdom said that there were mixed emotions. For some it was harder to accept, but for the majority, the renovations were well received.
“I see people using spaces that we’ve always had, but they’re using them now,” said Wisdom. “For example, the area around the TV and the fireplace, it feels so much warmer and cozier. People are sitting around there with their coffees, talking for hours before or after lunch.”
Board Member Steve Vagnozzi had nothing but positive remarks.
“This is an excellent example of collaboration between the Township and the Senior Center,” said Vagnozzi. “This is an excellent facility for the seniors of this community.”
Along with the other renovations, the Senior Center has added updated computers to its computer lab.
These renovations are helping Wisdom to reach her ultimate goal.
“I want it to be a home away from home,” said Wisdom. “After all of these changes, I’m starting to feel like this is a place for that to happen.”
Wisdom plans on having a Senior Center open house in the near future, welcoming everybody from the community.