San Carlos’ 32-year-old Adult Community Center might get a very grown-up renovation to redesign the bustling facility to better accommodate the wide range of programs and services available to the city’s older population.
“It’s way over overdue. It gets constant use, every piece of furniture is worn and tired and the cafeteria is not so functional,” said Parks and Recreation Director Christine Boland.
Boland said there are 203 items just for that facility identified for improvement in the master plan such as counter heights, doorknobs, lighting, the outdated restrooms and ramps for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
If the city was flush with money, it might start from scratch with a new multi-story building with a bigger footprint but Boland said the $5 million or so ballparked to go that route just isn’t an option. Instead, the city is looking at a detailed renovation of the 601 Chestnut St. building using $1.587 million appropriate in the fiscal year 2012-2014 capital improvement plan. On Monday night, Boland will ask the City Council to approve a contract no more than $234,500 with Ross Drulis Cusenbery Architecture for the design and construction documents. If the bids are acceptable and all the rest goes smoothly, Boland said construction could start as early as September.
Aside from the prohibitive cost of a new building, Boland said the existing center is at its heart still workable.
“It’s like an old house. The bones are still good and it’s still a great facility,” she said.
Boland said the ADA piece is an undertaking in itself so it may be addressed in the budget later as a separate item. She and the working group tackling the project are also looking at the possibility of donations or fundraising — perhaps efforts by the Parks Foundation or the Friends of Adult Community Center — to offset the city costs.
The community center’s space includes a lounge area, library, computer lab, commercial kitchen and other rooms for projects and classes. Tai chi might be in one room, poker in another and lunch in the other. Every inch is taken and continues into the night with Jazzercize and yoga, Boland said.
The makeover wish list includes upgrading the lighting, heating and ventilation, making the existing space more functional, upgrading the carpet and furnishing and creating more storage space. A “teaching kitchen” for classes and culinary events is also a possibility.
Updating the center will make it more attractive to users which has the added effect of bolstering revenue from class and program fees.
“These older buildings only have so much life in them and, for example, people don’t want to continue to go to classes when the restrooms are broken down,” Boland said.
Although the renovation is still in the future, Boland said plans are already in the works for a temporary home above the library.
The San Carlos City Council meets 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24 at City Hall, 600 Elm St., San Carlos.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102