‘Not your grandma’s senior center’ closes for 8 million dollar construction project

The Colorado Springs Senior Center has 18 to 24 months of construction.
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 7:03 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A local senior center is now closed as the city begins a project to replace the building.

Project managers for the new Colorado Springs Senior Center said farewell to the old building Friday in a formal ceremony.

It will be built on the same property, just northeast of downtown, near Patty Jewett’s golf course.

Deputy Chief of Staff for Colorado Springs said the current center has struggled with ongoing maintenance needs.

“We are adding about 50% capacity in terms of square footage,” Ryan Trujillo, Deputy Chief of Staff for Colorado Springs, said. “It’s going to be more accessible, a lot more parking availability, and really one of the most innovative senior centers in the state, and I would say even in the country.”

The city said it’s also using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to pay for the eight-million-dollar project.

One previous director at the Senior Center told 11 News they had served thousands of residents for 50 years now. And those thousands of residents who relied on the Senior Center services will now be redirected to the Pikes Peak region of the YMCA and the Westside Community Center.

Project managers said the new center will bring more opportunities and growth for patrons. They also said the current site will expand from 17,000 to 23,000 square feet, and there will be three times more parking spaces.

Friday afternoon, patrons gathered to share memories and one last final goodbye to a place known fondly as “not your grandma’s senior center.”

“This was a place where there was line dancing, we were going zip lining, we were going out in the community and doing things,” Mendy Putman, Previous Director of Colorado Springs Senior Center, said. “We had gardening groups; we had Zumba; we had everything. And we would try if there was some new trend, we wanted to try it. Because just you might be over 55 doesn’t mean you can’t do it.”

Mendy, who has been with the center for 33 years, said the farewell is bittersweet.

“To think back over all the memories and all the people who have kind of gone on,” Putman said. “You know, from my career, we were reminiscing over lunch about the different instructors we’ve had over the years and all the volunteers that we’ve had. And it’s just such a community that seriously sticks together.”

To keep the community of seniors connected, the Colorado Springs Senior Center will provide activities through local partnership throughout the 18 to 24 months of construction. 

“We’re now really coming of age of understanding the importance of socialization, as we age and how that affects our brain, how that affects our physical health, how it affects our mental health, and that’s the importance of getting together with people,” Putman said.

“I don’t want them to sit at home and be sad,” current patron, Sam, said. “I want them to enjoy being around other people.”

Construction on the new building is scheduled to start in August.

“It is very comparable to 1986 when we had droves of people out into the parking lot waiting for us to open this building,” Putman said. “And I really hope I assume it’s going to be exactly the same with the new building.”

“Even though it’s going to be closed for a while when it opens, I will want it to be with a bang,” Sam said. “I want a lot of seniors that haven’t known that these facilities are available for them.”

For more information on activities and resources, you can click here.